Woodside Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We hope to answer all your questions here, but if we don’t please do get in touch. Looking forward to welcoming you to the Woodside soon!

What is the Woodside?

The Woodside is our new community building complete with leisure facilities that has now been formally transferred to the Bolnore Village Community Partnership (BVCP) from Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC).

The new building has been named the Woodside by the BVCP trust, a name that was put forward by a local resident. The venue is already being used regularly by a large number of community groups including Bolnore Village Pre-School, Scout Group (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) and new football and netball clubs AFC Bolnore and Woodside, respectively. 

How was the Woodside funded?

The land for the new community building and leisure facilities was provided by developer Crest Nicholson as part of the Bolnore Village housing development, along with the majority of the funding for new sports and recreation facilities. The build cost over £1.1 million, of which around £700,000 came from Crest Nicholson and the remainder provided by MSDC. MSDC will continue to own and maintain the recreation ground working in partnership with the BVCP to deliver excellent facilities.

Where and what are the facilities?

The new sports and recreation area is situated on the Bolnore Recreation Ground. MSDC has worked closely with the Bolnore Village Residents Association (BVRA) over the past few years and consulted with local people to create a scheme that meets the needs of the local community. 

There are four grass football pitches and a hard surfaced floodlit area that is marked out for a range of sports including tennis, netball, five-a-side football and basketball.

The Woodside provides local people with a large community hall, meeting rooms, a bar and kitchen area, four sports changing rooms and a viewing balcony on the mezzanine level. All facilities will be available to hire.

Ramping up the fun even further, a brand new skate park has been installed to enable local skateboarders and scooter enthusiasts to practice their skills. The skate park is made almost entirely of concrete, which means users have a perfectly smooth ride, and benefits from a range of features including, ledges, quarter pipes and grind blocks. 

What is the BVCP?

The BVCP is charitable incorporated organisation, (registered charity number is 1152374), created by local volunteers to run the new leisure facilities on behalf of the local community. The BVCP was founded in June 2013 specifically with the aim of managing the Woodside and adjacent facilities, although the BVRA had been actively involved in the consultation process for a new community building for many years before this. The BVCP has a board of trustees and local volunteers with a wide range of expertise and experience. Their biographies are available here. All of the BVCP trustees (including the chairman, secretary and treasurer) are unpaid. The BVCP has a 28-year lease on the Woodside building, which includes the management of the Rec ground and floodlit multi-use games area (MUGA).

What are the aims of the BVCP?

The BVCP aims are to establish and run the Woodside and recreation facilities, and to promote these facilities for the benefit of locals, improving social wellbeing and developing our community. Put simply, we aim to develop our community building for building our community. Our values are welcoming, energetic and ambitious and our long-term vision is to create life-long memories of everyday and special days.

What are the advantages of having the BVCP run our facilities instead of the council or a private contractor (as is the case with the local leisure centres)?

With the exception of our part-time centre manager, the BVCP is run as a charity by volunteers. This keeps our costs down and ensures that our facilities can be used for as diverse a range of activities as possible, rather than focusing solely on profit. Although nearby towns and villages have some excellent facilities we are very aware that despite being a village of over 2,500 people, Bolnore has always had a deficit in terms of local amenities. We therefore want the Woodside to address this deficit.

How is the BVCP funded and what does it do with its money?

Since setting up the BVCP in June 2013 we have raised or been pledged over £40,000 to cover the cost of equipment and start up costs. Our funds have come from the following sources: £10,000 from Hyde Housing, £10,000 from the National Lottery, £9,000 from MSDC, £3,836 from Haywards Heath Town Council, £3,000 from West Sussex County Council, £1,500 from the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, £500 from Haywards Heath Rotary Club, £300 from First Central Insurance and about £2,500 from residents (from the BVRA, donations or via our monthly Bolnore Lotto). This will cover the initial set up costs including equipment such as furnishings, appliances, IT and security equipment, fixtures and fittings as well as marketing, legal and training costs.

In the future, should our position permit us to do so once our staff and maintenance costs are met (BVCP is responsible for building up keep and significant maintenance and replacement costs), any financial surplus generated will be used to support new and existing groups, or the creation of or new projects that have an impact on local wellbeing. This we hope will start with the creation of a new youth club, then it could enable the creation of a separate not-for-profit estate management company to replace the existing management companies and promote local jobs. It could also include the creation of projects as diverse as community energy or solar generation, grants for local groups, a community bus service, a Bolnore bonfire society, or initiatives to finally get businesses into the local shop units.

How do the BVCP and the Bolnore Woodside Trading Company (BWTC) operate?

The BVCP trustees run the building and facilities with one part-time employee, Michael Bramble, our centre manager. Alongside regular bookings for community groups such as the Pre School, we take bookings for meetings, parties, and other events. We have also set up a trading company, BWTC, to enable us to run a bar (charities are prohibited direct involvement in the sale alcohol) and a coffee shop to cater for a full range of social occasions.

The trading company has three volunteer directors and is an incorporated limited company (number 9137126). It has one share worth £1, which is owned by the BVCP which enables all the profit it makes to go straight back into the BVCP and therefore the community. Suppliers, contractors and staff for the trading company are chosen by the directors and invited trustees to ensure that any potential conflict of interest is managed while at the same time balancing our aims to support local businesses and producers with the financial priorities of the trading company.

Can I get involved?

If you’re interested in getting involved in this exciting project, have an idea, a suggestion, or want to guide the decisions made, do contact us and get involved!