Badminton at The Drill Hall - The First 20 Years

The Drill Hall – Historic Notes 1988 to 2017

In April 1988 the then committee of the Drill Hall Sports Club put out an appeal for volunteers to assist with the running of the Hall and to also assist in the upkeep of the property.

Alan Hayes, a local man who played Badminton at the Hall offered his services so he could put his engineering and construction knowledge to good use and to also in his words put something back.

In 1997 the Drill Hall faced a crisis within its administration and Alan found himself in a position of having to sort out and try to get the Drill Hall back in line and as such a new smaller committee was formed comprising Alan, and two co-opted officers of the local Enfield Badminton League, Simon Gouldstone and David Southon. The Company obtained a new lease from Enfield Council and then continued the work of providing simple low cost, membership-free access to the local community and to become a base for Local Badminton Clubs from Enfield, Barnet and Middlesex for their club nights and match use.

In addition the Club preserved and supported the local Rifle Club, Bridge Club and Railway enthusiasts’ organisation. The Hall also diversified and added indoor archery and yoga to its list of activities. The Hall served the older generation within our community by working with Enfield Council to provide playing facilities several days a week encouraging the University of the Third Age to get out and keep fit! Great fun was being had by all concerned.

One of the better and most successful achievements was to run two junior clubs on Thursdays and Saturdays where youngsters were offered support and coaching (the Drill Hall sponsoring the court time and paying the fees for the coaches to gain their Badminton England Certification). This sponsorship allowed the coaches to use the subs to purchase racquets and other equipment for those who could not afford them.

The Drill Hall also worked with the Enfield/Gladbeck Exchange tour by opening its facilities free of charge to the organisers where visiting families could meet and play over the weekend. The Drill Hall also was pleased to sponsor and host the annual Badminton Tournament for the Enfield Boys’ Brigade. Our outreach to the local community has continued to be very successful with the facilities being used by small groups of adults who get together to play for an hour or so, young mothers, groups of friends and work colleagues have all been able to take advantage of the facility located in the heart of our community.

The Committee worked hard to ensure the security and future of the Hall by having a new roof fitted that removed the old skylights, a new playing surface and installing a state of the art heating system. Maintenance has, in the most part, been carried out using the professional skills we have amongst us and assistance from those who use our facility.

We were featured in Time Out magazine when they visited Enfield for our work in the community alongside that of the local pub!

When the financial crisis hit in 2008 the Drill Hall determined to support those using our facilities by freezing its charges for many years, using the skills of its officers to get repairs done and keep the facility going.

Now after some thirty odd years of work Alan Hayes and the existing committee have decided its time to hang up their racquets and hand over to a new team who can take up the challenge and continue to run this unique facility to the benefit of all.

The Hall is an important asset to our community - a place anyone can visit and simply book up and walk through the door.

The property still demands attention and the new committee will have fresh challenges to face when they start work.

To quote Alan “Looking back over the years to have watched people have fun and enjoy themselves, youngsters learn a new skill and our older generation interact and enjoy social contact with one another has been great and I could not have wished for a better way to have tried to put something back”.

As such Alan Hayes’s last act on Friday 1st September 2017 was to hand over the keys along with lots of paperwork and to wish the new team well.

Alan R Hayes
9th September 2017