EASTBOURNE charity Defiant Sports wants to take over the vacant Fort Fun site on Eastbourne seafront.

It’s a great local charity based in Sovereign Harbour:

“We have recently been able to view the property formerly known as Fort Fun, along Eastbourne Seafront. Defiant Sports has declared an interest in taking over this site and we have in-depth plans to create a fully accessible sports centre, with community space, an accessible golf course, outdoor SEND friendly play equipment, a base for the accessible beach project equipment, a hub for accessibility to meet the needs of both residents and tourists.

We do have many further ideas to grow and develop the site also, which I am very happy to discuss in detail should you be interested.

The fact is, the venue we have been very lucky to have at Sovereign Harbour Retail Park was only ever a short term solution. The landlord has been extremely kind but is unlikely to want us here much longer than the end of this year.

The other point to note is that we have already outgrown what we initially thought to be a huge space! So a victim of our own success, the community demands more! The other consideration is space for outdoor sports, which we don’t currently have. With all these points in mind I am sure you can understand why a priority for us currently is to find a bigger, more appropriate, longer term venue to be able to meet the needs of our community and offer collaborative opportunities with the many other local organisations who also do a great job in looking after people.

This brings us back to the part where we need your help. The Fort Fun premises would be a great solution for us and the community, allowing an amazing, one of a kind asset to be created, benefitting not only those with a barrier to participation but the wider population who would be equally welcomed. We not only support our players and those who take part in activities with us but support a coaching and workforce team, sourced from local people, many of whom may struggle for employment.

We work collaboratively with other groups in Eastbourne, we are winners of this years Community Engagement Award from Active Sussex (the county sports partnership), have hosted the first open disability tennis tournament for all ages throughout the country, work with several National Governing Bodies in Sport, are supported by local council, County Council, The Lottery, Sport England and more in terms of funding and prove over and over again that we support and care for the community. Unfortunately we are also aware that there are several other organisations who would like to take over the premises, undeniably there will be those that will be bring greater financial advantage to the Council, being more prosperous and able to offer higher rents etc.

However, will they provide the community asset that we can bring? Without your help, I fear that we may be overlooked, whether for financial gain or smarter business plans, neither being our specialism.

So, please, if you think we are the right choice, contact Eastbourne Borough Council or talk to someone with influence who may be a decision maker in allocating the premises. Please let them know that we want to give a long-term commitment to Eastbourne but we need some support in return!

Unfortunately without new premises it is likely we will have to move Defiant Sports out of Eastbourne. This is something we do not want to do. Please help us if you can. Just a little word to support us, if you think we are the right choice, may be all that is needed to secure our future in the town.”

Loretta Lock

Managing Director

Defiant Sports