New sports turf on the cards

St Peter’s Catholic School principal Grant Stuart with samples of the new sports turf that is the focus of current fundraising activities.

St Peter’s Catholic School is busy fundraising for a new sports turf intended to turn their main lawn into an all-weather playing surface for a range of sporting activities.

Raising the $155,000 or so required is well underway, said school principal Grant Stuart, with around $30,000 already in hand. A series of fundraising activities are planned to swell that figure, including the school’s gala in November, and the annual fun run in March next year. Grant said he hoped the turf would be in place in about 18 months.

A well-attended screening of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again at Cambridge’s Tivoli Cinema on August 22 added a further $1700 to the turf pot. The event was the school’s second movie fundraiser organised by its PTFA (Parent, Teacher and Friends Association).

The wet winter has only enhanced the need for an all-weather turf, said Grant.

“Our fields have been muddy and water-logged … our children have had to practise for hockey and other sports on concrete. The lawn is so puggy that for the most part, the concrete is also their only play area for a large part of the year. It’s far from ideal.

“The new turf’s multi-sport playing surface will cater to a range of sports, including netball, hockey, tennis, futsal [a variation of football], and touch rugby. And the surface we have selected will have an underlay, which will make it softer for the children if they fall on it.”

The turf will be laid across a 35m x 45m area; several trees will have to be shifted, as will the rugby posts and the sandpit.

The fruits of previous fundraising activities at St Peter’s are visible everywhere. The extensive new ‘innovative learning space’ comprising a large single room, two break-out rooms and a resource room was opened on March 9 by Bishop Steve Lowe, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, and has helped accommodate a growing roll. Work has started on a new block of changing sheds for the swimming pool, and pool heating will be installed during the next holidays, extending the swimming season from six to 20 weeks.

The school’s fundraising programme has been adapted to better fit with a healthier lifestyle, Grant said. Selling pies to raise money has been replaced with healthier options, and the school works in with various community groups to ensure the facilities are used outside school hours.

“Our association with the Cambridge Swimming Club means the community can use our pool for their Learn to Swim programme. Our pool is a decent size; a swim aerobics class uses it as well, and a netball club uses our courts at night,” he said.

“We’re looking to get more groups involved in using our facilities when the children aren’t here; there is no point in them lying idle. It makes sense to enhance our ability to be multi-functional and provide spaces the community can use, and it has a commercial benefit for the school.”

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