A NEW weekly 5km run is set to take place in Henley after town councillors agreed
A NEW weekly 5km run is set to take place in Henley after town councillors agreed to pay almost a third of the start-up costs.
Parkrun, a timed run that is free to enter, is likely to be held at 40 Acre Field, near Valley Road, every Saturday morning, starting in December.
It is being organised by James Barr, who is a member of Parkrun, the organisation responsible for a national network of 5km events which has granted him half of the £6,000 needed to stage the Henley run.
Now Henley Town Council’s finance strategy and management committee has agreed to donate £1,700 of the other half from its community grants budget.
The rest will come from private donations and a £1,000 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council’s Go Active Get Healthy scheme.
A total of £2,000 will be spent on barcode scanners, a timing device and a computer with software to update Parkrun’s national database as well as cones, posts, signs and high-vis jackets.
The other £1,000 will go towards training the volunteers who will operate the event.
Parkrun matched this total with £3,000 to cover ongoing costs for the lifetime of the event.
Mr Barr, from Earley, told councillors that the Henley event would eventually attract about 200 runners and their families, some of whom would come from outside the town so would boost the local economy by spending money in shops and on car parking.
There is no minimum age limit for entry but most runners are expected to be at least 15 years old.
Mr Barr said a number of small-scale trial runs would be held to make sure the equipment works.
There are also plans for a 2km junior run, which would take place on Sundays at a different location.
Mr Barr said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we have all the necessary funding.
“We will be in a position to purchase the equipment as soon as the money is transferred.
“I think Parkrun will prove popular as I’ve already had a lot of enquiries from people who’ve been following the coverage in the Henley Standard.”
The committee also approved grants of £1,000 to Henley Bowls Club, £796 to the Henley Drama Festival and £645 to Henley’s Aliquando chamber choir.
It agreed to give Henley Golf Club £400 to provide tuition to pupils at Badgemore Primary School and £250 to Home-Start Southern Oxfordshire, which supports families with at least one child under five. Another £121 went to the Henley in Transition sustainability group and £88 to the Henley Allotments Association.
Requests for £1,000 from the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary and the Berkshire MS Therapy centre were both declined.
The latter has received £1,000 a year for the past three years but councillors stressed community grants couldn’t be awarded on an ongoing basis.
The council has now spent exactly half of its £10,000 community grants budget for this financial year.
Councillors also agreed to give Henley Youth Festival an annual grant of £1,500 for the next three years.
This money comes from a separate budget and will pay for every primary school pupil in the town to attend at least one free workshop.
Festival organisers said they needed an annual grant as it provided a degree of stability, allowing them to book workshops with confidence that the money is available.