Latest Sports News

Graham Roberts and Gerry Oldham of local side Cheltenham Saracens invited to 10 Downing Street to recognise achievements for outstanding community work

Cheltenham Saracens chairman Graham Roberts and director of football Gerry Oldham were invited to 10 Downing Street this week to celebrate their work at the community hub in St Peters, Cheltenham.

The club has raised upwards of £1 million through various avenues to complete a new community hub near the town centre.

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, welcomed around 60 members in London to recognise work done in grassroots sport.

“You never do these things for recognition,” says Roberts. “When you get an invite to 10 Downing Street, it does feel good. We’re passionate about getting this project over the line and improving the local community so it was great to receive that invite.”

Cheltenham Saracens’ community hub will be one project that has benefited from funding.

It’s not been without its long evenings and important dates in the diary, however. Saracens’ long-standing chairman has been drawing up the plans for several years.

“The very original proposal was nearly six years ago. This has been in the pipeline ever since so from the initial clubhouse or tea room we were looking at, it’s grown into a wider project for the benefit of the whole community.

“The football club deserves better facilities and that will help us attract better players. Not only the facilities for the football team but the project will benefit the whole community.

The plans for the community hub – Credit: Graham Roberts

“You do feel pride in what you’re doing. The benefits that it will bring to us, we can’t wait to see it finished and people using it.”

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, has been supportive of the plans and was the reason why both Roberts and Oldham were invited to the event.

During the day, it was an opportunity to compare projects happening across the country and learn how their approaches differ from those back home.

“He (Alex Chalk) gave us a great letter of support. The invite also came through on my birthday a couple of weeks ago!

Embed from Getty Images

“Not many people can say they’ve drank a glass of champagne at 10 Downing Street, can they?” a smiling Roberts adds.

One of the other key selling points for the community hub is the improvement of the local area which will no doubt have its benefits further down the line.

“The community hub will make the area much safer, too. We’ve already had residents say how much it will improve the area with the amount of anti-social behaviour.

“One of the aims is to curb all of that with the new building. The design and landscaping of the building will improve that too.”

The Big Local Stadium – Credit: Tim Stokes

But with plans always moving in a positive direction, the area could look significantly different this time next year.

Roberts continues: “The next stage is to build construction plans and hopefully, we’ll be looking to put spades in the ground around April time.

“We’re hoping to finish by the end of December – that’s the target.

“We’d like to raise another £75,000-£100,000 to get the dream building with everything we want but we will have to wait and see.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *