Grant support puts Hartlepool dodgeball players on firm footing
Dodgeball players in Hartlepool have a firm foundation for their sporting ambitions.
The Dodgeball Centre, in Winterbottom Avenue, is the only dedicated centre for the sport in the world and now has a sprung floor court thanks to funding by local community support group the PFC Trust.
The Hartlepool centre has 150 children attend sessions each week, along with more than 20 adults and is home to the Hartlepool Mavericks.
Sessions to improve the fitness of those with learning and physical disabilities have started this month.
Both the main hall and the smaller hall – used for younger players – have been created with purely Dodgeball in mind.
That is unlike elsewhere in the UK courts have to be marked out using tape because they are generally used for netball, basketball, football or racket sports.
Head coaches Lucie Stott and Stephanie Robson take players and teams all over the country to compete and the Mavericks were the only club of its kind in the North-East until the duo recently created sister club Billingham Bulls.
Lucie said: “We launched dodgeball to tackle child obesity in the town.
“Steph and I used to hold sessions like Boxercise, Zumba and circuit training but the kids repeatedly asked to play dodgeball, which we used to play it at the end of every session.
“Now we have this centre where they not only improve fitness levels but children vulnerable to injuries during growth spells are supported on impact through the sprung floor we have had put down.”
The five-year-old Mavericks are the national champions at Under-11s and Under-13s and were runners-up in the Under-9s and Under-16s.
Stephanie, a primary school teacher, thanked the PFC Trust, which was founded by Patrick and Frances Connolly to support the local community.
She said: “We went to Sport England for help and they demanded a proper sports hall floor. Frances Connolly heard about this and the trust has helped provide the funding for the flooring.”
Frances said: “it was our pleasure and privilege to support the work of this amazing group.
"Not only do they encourage sporting prowess but engage young people who might otherwise not have participated in more mainstream sports. We look forward to watching the centre go from strength to strength."