If mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body – was good enough a philosophy for those fortunate to have access to the playing fields of Eton, then it should also good enough for the children of Croydon.
That appears to be at least part of the thinking behind a primary free school which is being established, initially at least, in a selection of Portakabins on some spare land around the pitches at Streatham and Croydon rugby club’s Frant Road ground in Thornton Heath.
Paxton Academy is one of the schools being opened to cope with the shortage of school places throughout the borough. And SCRFC is taking the opportunity not only to make the club more up to date for its own players, but also to build a community sports and health facility in the heart of Thornton Heath, where green spaces are in short supply.
The initiative includes partnering with the Paxton Academy, which puts student fitness at its heart in order to ensure that all children are able to access the curriculum, and in particular prepare themselves for work in science and technology-based areas. The school has opened this month with 62 four-year-olds in its reception year, using temporary buildings until the school is built round the corner on London Road.
The school and the club expect to go on working together for the foreseeable future, with the school having long-term use of SCRFC grounds during weekdays.
Johnette Barrett, the Paxton Academy head, said, “Streatham and Croydon have gone beyond the call of duty to accommodate our parent meetings at various times of the day and evening, and fun events for our prospective children, and they have accepted deliveries on the Academy’s behalf often at untimely hours of the morning. Nothing has been too much of a problem.
“We are eternally grateful for the immense support they continue to give us,” Barrett said.
“The club are absolute stars they have found space between the back of their clubhouse and the pitches to stack our temporary buildings,” Charlotte Davies, the Academy’s chair of governors said. “Jeff Greenleaf, who manages the SCRFC community programme, has been superb.”
The club also works with other schools which have use of their grounds, including Bensham Manor.
SCRFC is involved with the Sport England Croydon Game Changer Programme, in partnership with Croydon Volunteer Action, Crystal Palace FC and Surrey County Cricket Club.
The aim of the project is to build a successful network of young people who will be provided with opportunities to progress into mainstream and competitive sport, while also providing the opportunity for training which will enable the participants to be able to coach others and sustain participation.
On a wider scale the project is looking at how the regeneration of Croydon can be aided by developing a physical activity programme which provides training and mentoring support and encourages young people to take on healthier and more active lifestyles, as well as to participate in sport.
In the near future, the club – previously featured as the training base for one series of Sky Sport’s School of Hard Knocks programme – is seeking to redevelop the club house to make it more attractive to a wider range of visitors and to provide community training spaces.
“These are exciting times for Streatham and Croydon,” Greenleaf said. “We are working towards a clear strategic plan to be a sports club at the very heart of Thornton Heath that makes a significant difference to the health and life opportunities of the local population.”
Coming to Croydon
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Organ recital, St Michael’s church, Poplar Walk, Sep 27
- Fancy dress family funday, Sep 28
- Ukrainian choir concert, St John’s Shirley, Sep 29
- Tree Sides, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 2-4
- The Goon Show, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 8-11
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- Croydon 10km road race, Oct 19
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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