The Brantford Sports Council is using their voice for sports in the community, helping organizations recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“Sports include the whole community,” Chairman Bill Harding said. “They are a catalyst of our social network and social development, along with the arts.”
The Sports Council is made up of 24 youth sports organizations in Brantford and the County of Brant including hockey, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, rugby, baseball, basketball, cricket and track and field clubs.
“Through the pandemic, many new families moved into our area,” Harding said. “We are working to identify new groups of people or young parents with young kids, to introduce them to sports in the city. To show them all of the different options, give them a chance to try different things before going through the registration process.”
The pandemic has also brought challenges upon the council and local sports.
“We’re getting back to normal, with leagues and tournaments filling the fields in the area,” he said. “But we’re also struggling to get support. We’re having troubles finding coaches, referees and volunteers to keep these organizations running.”
The group has been advocating for more space for sports in Brantford, working with the city to recognize the needs of the community and offer solutions.
They have also been working with Access Storage to run the indoor Sports Complex that houses a number of different sports clubs and teams.
“Access Storage has been great to work with,” Harding said. “They approached us and asked us to help them manage it. They are not doing it for the money, but because they wanted to keep the doors open for kids to get active.”
The sports complex features a ball hockey rink, a driving range, a basketball training court, karate, and batting cages. Organizations lease out space in the complex to be able to run year-round activities.
“Our city is lacking indoor space for sports, and this complex is just the beginning of answering the need in our community,” Harding explained. “The last few years have been putting out fires and we are ready to move forward with growth and change.”