The explosion in growth of the junior Harriers combined with the quality of coaching which has facilitated the emergence of junior athletic talent from the local and surrounding communities has driven the aspiration among coaches and parents for an athletics track in Sedgefield. As this proposal has developed, it has become clear that a track in Sedgefield can have benefits for, and be accessible from, the whole East Durham area, where there is a shortage of suitable facilities.
Sedgefield Harriers has experienced dramatic growth in the past ten years and there has been a notable shift from pure development to development and competition and the junior section competes in most disciplines of track and field against established clubs such as Gateshead, Jarrow and Hebburn and Middlesbrough despite not having its own track and field facilities. From a club and coach point of view it is unfortunate that the club cannot currently meet the resource needs of junior athletes as they develop to representative standard. This has two outcomes – either the athletes must leave and travel to another club to compete or, as more often happens, the athletes are lost from the sport.
Sedgefield has traditionally been short of community infrastructure and, in particular, community facilities for young people. The strength of the junior Harriers as a 200+ junior club in the local community is self-evident of the demand for opportunities for young people. The proposed track will be a community facility accessible by individuals and groups from Sedgefield and many other towns and villages in the East Durham area, whatever their age or ability. There is also a lack of facilities for disability sports and the track will help to fill this gap.