Deal agreed to keep National Volleyball Centre in Kettering after months of uncertainty
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The home of English volleyball will remain in Kettering for two more years after the sport’s governing body agreed a contract.
The future of Kettering’s National Volleyball Centre (NVC) was thrown into jeopardy earlier this year after a shock announcement that facilities at Kettering Leisure Village (KLV), where it is based, would close.
But an eleventh-hour deal was struck to save parts of the site including Arena Sports, which has hosted English national volleyball squads and competitions since 2009.
And Volleyball England has now signed a deal for its NVC home to remain unchanged after several months of uncertainty.
Jonathan Moore, Volleyball England’s strategic manager for major events, said: “It is fantastic news that we will be continuing to hold events there as it’s a venue so many of our clubs and players know so well.
“We have a lot of history there, with so many some memorable matches having been played, and we look forward to there being many more in the future.
“We would like to thank to volleyball community for their patience during this period while negotiations have continued, and we hope they will be pleased to see the NVC remain at Kettering.”
Negotiations to secure the future of KLV’s sports and leisure facilities were complicated due to the site’s convoluted ownership and contractual arrangements. In June – just days before they were due to close – The Lighthouse Theatre, Balance Health Club and Arena Sports were all saved after leaseholders Phoenix Leisure Management agreed to take over the day-to-day running of them from sub-contractors Compass from this month. Compass said their reasons for pulling out of the Thurston Drive site were due to their operational costs increasing ‘significantly’ and that the venue was ‘no longer financially viable’. The Kettering Conference Centre part of the venue will remain closed.
Matthew Green, from Arena Sports, said: “We are pleased to announce that we have had productive contract negotiations with Volleyball England, and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Kettering remaining the home of the National Volleyball Centre.
“Volleyball England have a long history spanning over ten years within the centre and we are driven to continue building on this history together to make the future years the best the sport has seen at the site.
“We would like to thank the whole of the hub team for their continuous support over past few months and we look forward to supporting Volleyball England as they continue to develop the sport here at Kettering."
Last month a North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) meeting heard that, while the deal to save the site had been agreed, Phoenix could still choose to close the centre if it is unviable.
NNC agreed to create a business case to look into the implications of stepping in if needed, as well as exploring other options for the future operation and management of the site. Campaigners from the KLV Support group – who fought to save the site and find new investors – said there is ‘still a bit of a worry’ over its future.