The Centre for Outdoor Activity and Community Hub (COACH) officially opened its doors on Thursday, May 11th with a vibrant day of outdoor activities for school children, local businesses and the community.
The community project, sponsored by Taunton School amongst others, is located in a key position on the River Tone which flows through some of Taunton’s most attractive public spaces including Longrun Meadow, French Weir Park and Goodland Gardens.
COACH replaces a former toilet block with an attractive, sustainable town centre facility. Boasting an extensive list of activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, orienteering, mountain biking, wildlife identification and a nature trail to name just a few, there really is something for everyone.
COACH was officially opened by Alan Munk, a former trustee of the Taunton Youth and Community Centre (TYCC) which used to be in Tangier. Part of the funds resulting from the closure of the centre went to COACH and they have been significant supporters.
Trustee Robbie Lowes is understandably proud: “The Trustees and all involved in the COACH project extend a warm welcome to its official launch. I’ve been involved from the beginning and am both proud and excited that our distant vision of six years ago is now a reality.”
“COACH is very much a community facility and this event provides an opportunity for us to get together and celebrate the end of the build phase and & raise a glass to many years of community activity.”
Sustainability is one of the key aims of the project and donations of time or money are welcomed. Key sponsor Taunton School has made significant contributions and lent its support to the project. Lee Glaser, Headmaster, commented “Taunton is very fortunate to have such a great facility and we are proud to support this fantastic project for the benefit of the Taunton community. We look forward to working with COACH to promote the facility.” Refreshments for the launch event were provided by Taunton School.
The COACH project won Best Public Service Building, Best Educational Building and Best Commercial Building at the LABC Somerset Building Control Partnership Awards and is nominated in the regional LABC South West Awards. It has also been shortlisted for a RICS Award and a Michelmores Property Award, and winners will be announced later this year.
COACH is also home to The Weir, an independent coffee shop serving quality coffees, teas, home-made cakes and light lunches.