Miners' Welfare Recreation Ground
The mining industry was the only industry that ever had a statutory obligation to provide money for the social welfare of its employees, with the aim of helping to redress the appalling social and living conditions suffered by mining communities.
Peasedown St John had the largest of the Somerset recreational facilities including a community hall, soccer pitch, children's playground and large open space. In 1926, a grant of £567 was used to purchase an existing building. Another adjacent building was purchased in 1929, and a billiard table and boys' youth club were added to the facilities. The hall itself known locally as “The Red Hut”, could seat 100 people, and was a venue where villagers held social events. Sadly, the hut was later virtually destroyed by a serious fire.
The Parish Council became the Charity Trustee of the land in 1996, which is sub-divided into two charities, the recreation ground charity and children's playground charity.
Peasedown Miners Welfare Football Club was founded in the late 1800s, and the Recreation Ground has been their ‘home’ for decades. The Club has played at Western Football League level and currently plays in the Somerset County League.
A building on the recreation ground was used as both changing rooms and a make-shift place where teas were made on match days. This building was in a poor state of repair and, in 2012, the Parish Council agreed to spend S106 money to refurbish it.
The football club previously managed these facilities under a loose verbal agreement but, following the refurbishment of the changing rooms, the Parish Council officially took on the management of the football-related buildings and football pitch.
Peasedown Miners Welfare Football Club now use the ground and changing rooms alongside several other local clubs, under user agreements issued by the Parish Council.
Further Improvements to the Facilities
The Parish Council has made a number of further improvements at the Recreation Ground in recent years. These have included:
2014: “Dog-proof” fencing installed around the football pitch and children’s play area, to make these areas safer and more hygienic for those using them;
2015: Further use of £90,000 of S106 money to build a concrete skate park, which complements the existing facilities and provides an exciting recreational area for young people;
2015: Installation of a storage container to provide additional storage space for football clubs and pitch care equipment;
2018: Installation of Equality Act compliant access gates;
2019: Refurbishment of the “Millennium Play Area” for younger children with new equipment;
2019: Replacement of the basket swing next to the play area;
2019: Installation of a new Youth Shelter next to the Skate Park.