COVID-19 has changed the way any business can function. With fewer people visiting to partake in and watch the varied activities available and spend time and money in the Clubhouse afterwards, the Sports Club must quickly adapt to provide a safer environment. The restructuring of the Clubhouse is a necessity that the club can ill afford, which is why this appeal for help is being made now, to all our members and friends in the community. We have had help from the Football Foundation with a grant, but this will still leave a short fall of £15,000.
Sporting activity was taking place in the village back in the 1890s as evidenced by the cricket team's minute book opening entry for 8th March 1897. The old thatched pavilion is still standing, now with a pantiled roof. The playing field was ploughed up during the war but eventually both cricket and football resumed and merged in 1952 to form Walsham Le Willows Sports Club using the old pavilion.
The Sports Club is a key part of the local community and over the years has evolved into the current facility providing a hub for varied sports for all ages, genders and ethnicities to get involved in.
The Club has enjoyed annually increasing membership, close to 500 people of whom 160 are adult males, 55 adult females, 250 boys and girls and additional occasional players and social members. The age range starts from 4 years old with our "Little Willows" football sessions up to 85 years for players of bowls and walking sports. The recent priority has been to encourage more ladies and girls to join the Club along with people with disabilities in partnership with "Anyone Can Sports".
There are six senior football teams with fifteen youth and junior teams competing in local leagues and tournaments.
Over the summer, three senior cricket teams play League cricket along with three colt and junior teams.
Additional activities include walking football and walking netball, tennis and yoga. We also host Great Run Local events and Boot Camps. Bowls, darts, snooker & billiards complete the set.
Our improvement plans aim to provide a safer environment for all users with social distancing key in the replanning of the space available. We hope this will also attract other sports such as cycling, short mat bowls, pétanque and walking rugby. Other new community groups and active lifestyle providers will then also be encouraged to help further develop this community health and wellbeing hub for the village and wider area.