Wandgas Sports and Social club in Worcester Park had a double celebration this week with the official opening of the new all-weather pitch and their 80th anniversary.
The facility was opened in 1938 by the Wandsworth Gas company as a sports and social club for gas industry employees. The company later merged with SEGAS but the sports club retained its unusual name.
A certain number of local people had always been allowed to join the club and participate, and over the years as gas industry members reduced the number of local people joining increased. In 1997 the historic link with the gas industry was broken and Wandgas Sports and Social Club was formed.
The club is owned by its members and the organisation has thrived with 300 members and 200 people a week participating in sports activities or just meeting socially at the club bar.
The club has active football and cricket teams and also prides itself on its support for the local community and in particular has a strong relationship with local schools particularly Linden Bridge Special Education Needs School in Worcester Park which is a regular user of the site.
The club is an active supporter of the initiatives Cricket For All, and Football For All, and plays host to regular schools five a side football tournaments, as well as community football for 5 and 6 year olds every Saturday morning.
Chairman of Wandgas Dennis Jones, said: “I am really proud of what we have achieved here, particularly the way we have brought the benefits of sport to local young people by liaising with local schools and other youth groups.
The 3G pitch will extend what we can offer by providing facilities despite the weather, it’s a real bonus for the club.
I am supported by a brilliant team here and we are determined to provide an excellent facility for local footballers and cricketers of all ages and abilities to come to the club to enjoy their sport and a wide range of family social activities.”
The club has ambitious plans for the future with a running track planned, expansion of the cricket activities to include disability cricket and a sensory garden.
Chris visited the site during a special education needs football tournament to meet the teams and to launch the new all-weather 3G pitch. He said: “It was good to visit Wandgas Sports and Social Club today and see the great new 3D pitch which was supported by Barclays and the rest of the facilities which are being put to good use by the local community.”
Dennis is complimentary about the support the club has received from their Business manager Simon Fussell. Dennis said: “Simon has been great, when we were looking for funds for the 3G pitch he spent time with us to understand our plans and he had the vision to see what we were trying to do. Without Simon it would not have happened and I am grateful to him and to Barclays for the support.”
Barclays business manager Simon Fussell said: “I’ve been impressed by the way the team at Wandgas have adapted to ensure that the club continues to thrive and to bring the benefits of sport to a broad range of people. It’s a pleasure to support the next stage of their development.”