BAWA - we thank you

September 06 2020
BAWA - we thank you

Shane Gibson discovers that Filton people have had a lot of reasons to thank BAWA Leisure after they were able to use the fields for exercise during lockdown

When the lockdown was announced in March, many sports grounds shut their gates. BAWA Leisure decided to go in the opposite direction and open their field to local residents.
 
Locals used the field for their one-hour exercise, and then meeting up when covid restrictions were lifted.
Finance manager Andy Eustace spoke about the early days of opening the field. 
“When we first opened up to the public it was just me here. I had brought my children with their bikes as there was nowhere else for them to go. KFC had just reopened, and we had a meal delivered to my daughter which we ate sitting on the field.”
 As restrictions eased, the BAWA field was used by more members of the community. Children playing with balls, family picnics, dog walkers and even someone bringing their personal trainer. The field was allowing people to get out whilst keeping to government guidelines.
On August 3, the field had been made available to the public for twenty weeks. BAWA put up a post on their Facebook page informing readers that they were now having to close the field to prepare the grounds for competitive sports. Locals flocked to Facebook to thank BAWA for their kindness during such a difficult time.
The following comments were just a few that were left, with many other sharing the same sentiment.

“Thank you so much for allowing us the use of the field, it was a kind thing to do and kept us sane during lockdown x”

“Thanks for letting us use your lovely field. We love you BAWA for everything you do in the club too.”

“It was a godsend to me during lockdown, felt so safe thank you xx”
 
Andy said that BAWA wanted to do what they could for the community, but now they must prepare for upcoming events. 
“In September we have 120 school children participating in football tournaments on Saturday mornings, then in the afternoon adult football teams will be using the field, there will be a lot of football pitches out there,” he said.
Now BAWA are asking the public to help them by allowing the private grounds to be maintained for use by affiliated clubs.
 “We do have some problems with dog walkers not picking up after their dogs and of course there is a right of way leading to Southmead Road, but until we are fully open we will not have the staff to police the field,” Andy said. 
Looking back, BAWA opened their field with the hope that the community could relax on a lovely spring day.
Now as summer ends BAWA are pressing forward with not only the preparation for the return of sports but also an extensive refurbishment inside the building, they are working hard to get back on top form.