CST: New facility a major step forward

Carlisle United’s Community Sports Trust are rightly proud of the work they do around the local community, with major steps forward taken month by month as new schemes and projects are introduced or launched, and yet another leap was taken last week with the official opening of a fantastic new educational facility on the old Newman School site on Lismore Place.

The state-of-the-art Community Sports College, part of the Blessed Christopher Robinson House, has two fully kitted out classrooms, refreshment areas and bespoke meeting rooms.

The Trust has signed a five-year lease agreement for their new area, with the excellent services of former chairman Jimmy Mitchell and former Trust Manager John Halpin acknowledged by the naming of suites in their honour.

John Halpin said: “I’ve always been proud of the Trust, its staff and the work that’s been done to take what have been mostly small ideas to the levels we see now.

“We’re reaching out in so many different ways, and with this wonderful new facility we’ll also be able to take the education courses we provide to a whole new level.

“The possibility of expanding has always been a priority, so when this became a possibility, and wit it being so close to the club, we jumped at the chance.

“And obviously I’m very proud on behalf of myself and Jim [Mitchell] for us to have been recognised in this way.”

The opening event was attended by the CST’s board of trustees, with chairman Steve Smith proud of what he described as a ‘landmark move’ for the organisation.

“In 2008, when Jimmy and Halpy got into a room and decided to create a trust, they had little in the way of resources but a few brilliant ideas,” he said.

“They wanted to create something centred around the football club, and the pride in what they went on to achieve is immense. At any given time we have up to 30 projects on the go, and we have over 30 educators and coaches on our team. It’s phenomenal what these guys do every day.

“It’s no small claim to make to say that the work the Trust does changes lives for the better. We have 60 students who had fallen out of education and through the work of Teresa Mulholland and her team, they’ve been inspired not only to take on apprenticeships and enter the workforce, but go on to further education.

“This is the next milestone in our development and progress. We’re working with local authorities and stakeholders to find out what more value we can add from these facilities for the communities and people around Carlisle and the surrounding areas. It is really inspirational for us all.”

Also present at the opening were directors Nigel Clibbens, Suzanne Kidd, John Nixon and Steven Pattison (also a CST trustee), alongside Jim Mitchell’s wife Marion and his son Ian.  

The club’s first team was represented by manager Paul Simpson.

“I’ve got to tell you, just looking round this facility has made me really envious,” he said. “Hopefully this facility will inspire the rest of the football club to get an upgrade of what we’ve got.

“The Community Sports Trust are doing some fantastic work, and this facility will give them even more opportunity to help our community and stretching out to the rest of the county – which will go a hell of a long way to helping our football club.”

And CST manager James Tose said: “It’s been a hell of a lot work to get here, but we’re here and we’re really proud of it.

“We’ve created an environment where kids can come, feel comfortable, and they can thrive and fulfil their potential. I think anybody who comes here will be impressed by what we’ve put together.

“Everybody is talking about it as a step forward, and that’s exactly what it is. The manager keeps talking about striving for improvements, and that’s what we’ve achieved with this new facility.”

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