Wallingford Sports Trust was established in 1972, when the existing and separate Cricket, Football, Men’s and Ladies’ Hockey, Rugby, Squash, Tennis and Archery Clubs agreed to come together under the single banner of a charitable trust, whose purpose was to provide sport on a single site at Hithercroft Road, leased from SODC at a concessionary rent. Since that time, the Archery and Cricket Clubs have disbanded/relocated and the Skittles Club, formerly located at Pauls Malt, has joined the Trust.
As its name suggests, the Trust is a registered charity whose executive consists of a group of Trustees, mainly drawn from the individual Clubs, plus a Treasurer. For day-to-day management purposes, the Trust employs a full time, professional Sports Park Manager.
The Trust is an open access organisation. Its philosophy is to provide high quality, affordable, sport for all and each of the constituent Clubs is open to anybody in the area to join. The Clubs aim to keep their subscriptions and match subscriptions competitive by encouraging maximum participation from members in the running of their Clubs, as well as playing for them. Nearly all duties and coaching are undertaken by volunteers from the local community.
The individual Clubs are volunteer organisations and this generates the culture of the Sports Trust itself – not one of a commercially run sports centre, nor that of a works social club, but as an open, affordable recreational ‘hub’ which encourages the involvement of all those who play their sports or hold community events there.
The Trust keeps playing costs down by concentrating ‘off-field’ activities in a single Pavilion and by maximising income from its social facilities and the hire of the all weather pitch, both of which are available to anyone, regardless of membership status.