Fundraising starts in hope of creating new adapted sports hub at leisure centre

Plans are moving forward for a new £3 million Adaptive Sports Hub which will bring accessible facilities to Lynn as fundraising for the project is due to be officially launched today.

After two years of hard work getting plans ready, two West Norfolk groups have been working together along with others on the project.

The plans will see Paralympic-style facilities for those with disabilities to use as well as providing a new base for the Little Discoverers charity, the Pelicans Hockey Club and Little Miracles.

Alive Lynnsport in Lynn
Alive Lynnsport in Lynn

Changing facilities, a sensory room, a kitchen and a social area are all planned as part of the proposals for the Lynnsport site.

The project is a shared vision for Little Discoverers’ leader Katie Fisher and the president of Pelicans Hockey Club, Charles Lankfer.

“We hope it will be a fantastic asset for the whole of West Norfolk,” said Katie.

“We aim at providing an accessible, welcoming environment to encourage people with disabilities to keep active and have fun.”

Katie, who has been running the children’s charity for more than 18 years, is one of the three trustees for the registered charity the Adapted Sports Hub Trust.

She is joined by fellow trustees Paul Searle and Michelle King.

The project launch is being held at the Heacham Manor Pavilion this evening with local councillors expected to attend.

Katie has hopes the new sports hub will be built in the next three years and now she is calling for help in securing enough funding for the project.

“We need people’s time, materials and enthusiasm as well as fundraising ideas,” said Katie.

One of those excited about what the hub can bring to West Norfolk is Paralympian sportsman Peter Lauder, of North Wootton.

Peter, who represented Scotland at the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup, now runs Ability Counts multi-sport sessions at Lynnsport and has been giving advice on how to make the new hub wheelchair friendly.

“We will use it quite regularly, and we’re open to anybody who enjoys sport,” he said.

After being severely injured in 2020, Peter has played wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and sitting volleyball and has said how much he gets out of playing wheelchair sports.

He said: “I think to have a venue that’s dedicated to us will encourage other teams to come to the town.

“I think it will be brilliant for the area, there are not enough adaptive sports facilities in the region. We think to have this sports hub will be massive.”

Simon Ring, West Norfolk Council’s cabinet member for tourism, events and marketing, said: “We have had a number of conversations with Little Discoverers about their ambitions to create an adapted sports hub in Lynn, and more specifically on the Lynnsport site.

“We welcome their ideas and support their aims and ambitions in terms of extending the current adaptive sports offer available. Having facilities which support less able people of all ages to participate in activities that will keep them fit, active and independent as well as improving mental wellbeing, is an ambition we can all get behind.

“In principle, we support what they are hoping to achieve and will assist where we can.

“We wish them lots of luck with their fundraising endeavours and look forward to receiving further information about their specific proposals so that we can have further discussions with them with a view to confirming how we might be able to support and accommodate their plans.”

When the hub is up and running, it is planned it would be open for other charities to use as well.

The hub hopes to provide a “less intimidating” space for people to get into exercise and to give people with disabilities a supportive space.

Do you think you can help and want to get involved? Contact Katie by emailing: