Spaces for Sport is a perfect example of collaboration at its best. Bring together a dream team made up of a local municipality, an international sports organization and a Non Profit Company, add a sprinkle of investment and perfect timing, and hey presto! You’ve got yourself a state-of-the-art sports facility destined to change the lives and opportunities of thousands of people, providing proof that sport can achieve almost anything. The Spaces for Sport facility in Gansbaai is free and open to the public to walk, run, play, sweat and exercise every single day of the year. There is no membership fee, no gated access and no age limit. If you want to stretch your legs or kick or knock a ball around with some friends, Spaces for Sports is for you!
In 2008, Michael Lutzeyer, the owner of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, spotted the need for a sports field for the greater community of Gansbaai which had so few clean, open, safe places at which to play. The Overstrand Municipality identified the ideal spot in the centre of Gansbaai, easily accessible to youth from Gansbaai, Masakhane and Blompark and located on municipal grounds. With South Africa chosen to host the Football World Cup in 2010, and the world’s attention on building stadiums for sport, there was no better time to create a sports safe haven for the youth and families of Gansbaai.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, the Overstrand Municipality, Premier League, ABSA/ Barclays Bank and Grootbos Foundation made up the dream team.
At the time, Gansbaai Academia had not yet been built and the children of Gansbaai needed somewhere safe to hang out after school, in the afternoons and over weekends.
The choice of location for Spaces for Sport is a significant part of the story. Right in the centre of Gansbaai, at the intersection between the R43, Masakhane and Blompark, lies this sports facility which is there for the joy and use of all. Accessible from the Municipal Offices just beyond the Gansbaai library, it has bathrooms, soccer fields, rugby fields, tennis and netball courts and even a 3G FIFA-size artificial football pitch. The land was already owned by the Overstrand Municipality but was simply unused, criss-crossed with a network of footpaths as a means to move from one part of Gansbaai to another.
Grootbos Foundation coaches offer free sports coaching every weekday at Spaces for Sport and have done so since 2008. All children between 6-19 years are welcome to pitch up, hang out and play in the safe care of trained, responsible coaches and mentors. Parents are kept informed by the coaches. There are no fees and children walk away with full tummies, new friends, new individual and team skills and cool coaches as role models. Football, athletics, cross country, netball, hockey and female rugby are all offered at Spaces for Sports, and other sports programmes like Shewana Surf Therapy, water safety and canoeing are offered by Grootbos Foundation coaches at other sites. During school holidays, there is always something fun on offer for children during the week.
The Local Football Association makes use of the fields in the evenings and over weekends but there is enough space for everyone at any time to do a few burpees, knee lifts or to throw a frisbee.
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Despite the facility being always open and accessible to the public, it is pristine, clean and green all year round. The Overstrand Municipality maintains it and the community uses it with pride. The football AstroTurf is over a decade old and has not suffered any vandalism or intentional harm at the hands of youths. The youth of Gansbaai know what it means to have this facility available to them, and they honour the trust shown towards them, by caring for the facility in turn.
Recently, Spaces for Sport was a designated Covid vaccination site and many Gansbaai locals ventured to the field for the first time. They were enormously impressed by the generous outdoor facility, there for the benefit and enjoyment of all.
Not yet been for a visit to Spaces for Sport? Please venture out, you won’t be disappointed!