Hamble Community Sports College

An example of a sporting hub delivering community sport in Southampton

Sitting on a peninsula on the outskirts of Southampton, Hamble Sports College has developed a sporting hub that offers multi sports, hockey, tennis and gymnastics to the local community. Partners including Hamble Hockey Club and JEM Tennis use the site to run sporting activities that operate independently of the school. There is a closer relationship between the college and Dynamo Gymnastics clubs. The two organisations share the use of a purpose-built gymnastic hall, funded by Sport England, which helped the college achieve its specialist sports college status.


Issues related to the original build

A range of minor operational issues are being addressed. These include the lack of:

  • Secure storage space
  • Spectator accommodation that makes it difficult to host sporting events.
  • Air conditioning which wasn’t installed initially in a bid to save budget 

Hamble Sports Complex

The Sports Complex offers a commercial gym timetable including the full range of health and fitness classes and 25 stations, a four court sports hall and a 20 metre pool that has recently been refurbished. Access to the site is separate from the school which allows the complex to run as a commercial unit. The school’s decision to run the complex as a business unit and not sub contract the provision to a contractor, is related to its desire to offer a service to the whole community. The gym has 450 full paying members, a user data base in excess of 10,000 and offers a wide range of sports to the community. Prior to the development of the complex the organisations that used the complex were geographically spread across the local area and there was no single point where they could deliver their activities. The advantage of the complex is that the clubs can concentrate on the delivery of their sports whilst the infra-structure is provided by the complex and the management staff.

Type of community users

Dynamo Gymnastic Club

The most successful organisation is Dynamo Gymnastic club, which has recruited 730 new members as a result of the move. It has 23 coaches, runs satellite sessions for pre-school children and has developed a national and international reputation. A key success factor for the club is that its coaches are home grown. It offers coach education training in line with British Gymnastics’ coaching curriculum and develops the club from within.

Hamble Hockey

Hamble Hockey club runs four men’s teams and one women’s team, along with a junior club. The relationship with the complex has allowed the club to develop the stability it needs. As part of the new school development a new pavilion has been constructed which will assist the club by providing a social focus for their activities.

JEM Tennis

The tennis provision has been developed with assistance from Hampshire County Council and the Lawn Tennis Association. The club provides adult and junior tennis, and has achieved Clubmark. Having a number of sports on the same site is a model that creates critical mass and has clear operating advantages. The tennis club members have access to a reduced gym membership deal, creating benefits for both organisations.

Making it work

Management arrangements between Hamble Sports College and its partners rely on good communication between all parties, a bit of give-and-take on all sides and a flexible management style that adapts to each partnership’s needs.

The Hamble Sports Complex is a business unit of the college; and so its manager submits the budget and business plan competing with other departments for funds during the annual budget cycle. Dynamo Gymnastics and JEM tennis are self-contained business units who each have their own business model. They work with the complex to organise timetables that accommodate both school and the club activities. Finally, the hockey club has a different relationship again. The complex provides administration and maintenance services to the club in return for a set fee. The club is effectively a tenant with added services.

There is a community management committee that sets aims and objectives for the college. Membership includes college governors, the head teacher, the local authority, delivery partners, youth service, and users. This group meets four times a year and sets the aims and objectives of the sports complex. Members have rights on proposals and management issues; the group voting is not a talking shop and has a clear remit in overseeing the activities of the complex and assessing the views of the partners.

Making it work

Balancing school, community and elite provision

Dynamo Gymnastics Club operates elite squad training for three hours, twice a day. Hamble Sports College accesses the facility during schools hours, for gymnastic curriculum delivery. By working closely, a balance has been achieved between the organisations, reflecting the fact they have daily contact and a desire to work together. Dynamo coaches provide gymnastics sessions for the school, support teacher training through 1-1 assistance and via accredited training programmes. Curriculum delivery is then managed to avoid the elite squad requirements which maintains Dynamo’s, community, national and international status.

Ensuring community delivery

Hamble Sports College delivers a comprehensive range of multi-sport activity. This is achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, the staff maximises the time available in the hall by not scheduling in indoor football. This frees up the time to offer a wider range of sports to the local community, this in turn broadens the profile of those using the sports complex, and participants are not footballers. This is an important element in the success of the complex as it sits on a peninsula and needs to think innovatively to attract participants who all need to travel to the site. Secondly, the public is able to access the college site without the restrictions that can apply to school sites, as the car-parking and entrances to the sports facilities are open to the public. Thirdly, the head teacher is highly supportive of the whole concept of a community sports complex. In this role the head teacher has facilitated the relationship with Dynamo, JEM Tennis and the hockey club. He has been able to see the benefits of having a range of sports delivered by the school and views partners as a mechanism to strengthen the sports college status.

Top Tips

  • Communication sounds simple but it is a key factor; they talk to each other and are willing to co- operate and compromise to make an activity happen
  • They have a clear management process that addresses the varied needs of each group.
  • Co-locating a range of sporting activities benefits all.
  • A very supportive head teacher makes it easier.
  • Separate access from the College removes barriers.
  • The Hamble Sports complex is able to access the IT and finance department of the College which can be expensive stand-alone services.
  • Dynamo GC is a high-performing club that has local, national and international recognition; the local community supports the club and their achievements.
  • All the organisation have bought into the idea of community sport, they have a ‘can do’ and not a ‘can’t do’ attitude.


Jamie Waterman – Adult and Community Manager, Hamble Sports College
Email: jwaterman@hamblesportscomplex.com


School Profile

Type: Community School Gender: Mixed
Age Range: 11-18 Size:1115
Location: Outskirts of Southampton, Hampshire  
Management Model: Direct management by school (some club responsibility)

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