The new NHC Sports Hub at North Hertfordshire College Hitchin campus was officially opened by Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami.
The launch celebrated the partnership between funders North Hertfordshire College and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), as well as those involved in the development and construction of the state-of-the-art facilities. These include a multi-purpose sports hall, fitness gym, sports science teaching facilities and 3G football pitch for use by students and community groups through membership options and facility hire.
The development enables the College to be at the forefront of sports science teaching in Hertfordshire by meeting the growing need for higher qualifications in sports, technology, and STEM-related roles for both school-leavers and adult learners. Students on NHC’s Sports, Public Services and Supported Studies courses now have access to more equipment and the latest innovations, allowing them to gain practical experience of industry skills to prepare them for their future careers.
As well as supporting teaching across NHC’s curriculum areas, the new outdoor facilities support the growing demand for grassroots and youth football. The modern indoor facilities cater to local needs by providing a space for many sports, including badminton, basketball, netball, tennis, and cricket. Local teams and organisations that have already benefitted from hiring the new facilities for their events and matches include Hitchin Town Youth FC and Stevenage FC Foundation.
The development was funded by investment from the College and a £3.7m Local Growth Fund contribution from Hertfordshire LEP. Key stakeholders, community members, and local MPs were invited to attend the launch event which included a guided tour and showcase of the new facilities by Sports, Public Services and Supported Studies students, with canapes and refreshments for attendees prepared by the College’s Hospitality and Catering students.
Kit Davies, Principal of North Hertfordshire College and CEO of the Hart Learning Group, said: “I am delighted to officially launch and open our new sporting and sport science facilities at our Hitchin campus. The new NHC Sports Hub provides our students with industry standard and state-of-the-art facilities whilst studying at the College and gives them the best preparation for progressing to Higher Education and entering a career within the Sport, Fitness, and Exercise Science industry. The project has been a great example of collaborative working, both in the process of bringing the vision to reality and by providing a space for local community groups to benefit from as well. We are extremely proud of our facilities and the ongoing opportunities it provides for future generations.”
Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel, said: “The new NHC Sports Hub is a fantastic resource which will not only serve the local community, but critically, will help bridge the existing skills gap in sports, technology, and STEM to meet Hertfordshire employers’ needs. We are delighted to have supported this project with Local Growth Funding and look forward to seeing the Hub’s continued positive impact in years to come.”