The MDCSC Charitable Organisation


Registered Charity Number: 1155766

MDCSC Policy Documents

Marshland St James and District Community & Sports Centre (MDCSC) is a Registered Charity, established in April 2013 (Registered Charity No:1155766) with representatives of the Parish Council, the Jubilee Hall and the Playing Field committees. It has the following objects:

‘To establish and run a community centre and shop, to provide and maintain a recreation and sports ground, in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving the conditions of life of the inhabitants of Marshland St James and District’.

Our Vision: Our vision sees MDCSC as the beating heart of our community, providing an essential, vibrant, inclusive, accessible, sustainable, and safe facility that is used, valued and supported by the people of Marshland St James and the surrounding area.

Our Mission: Our mission is to promote, enable and facilitate inclusive activities which embrace and address the education, training, employment, welfare, health and well-being, social, cultural, sporting and recreational needs of all the members of our community.

We aim to: Improve the conditions of life of the people of Marshland St James by addressing five main issues in the village:

  • Social isolation within the elderly population
  • Education, helping local people gain new skills and qualifications, improving their life chances and access to employment
  • Encouraging local people to become more involved in sport and fitness, improving health, wellbeing and thereby reducing inactivity and obesity
  • Helping local children and young people make new friends, develop social and practical skills, improving relationships and their confidence
  • Sustaining village life and community relationsTo do this we must:
  • Keep the MDCSC facilities available, well-maintained, accessible and safe for the use of all local people
  • Enable a range of social, welfare, educational, training, development, health and wellbeing, recreational,cultural and sporting activities to take place at MDCSC which responds to the needs of all local people
  • Provide good quality services to our users
  • Consult with, and be responsive to the needs of, the local community
  • Be financially sustainable

Biographies of the Trustees

John Askew

John lives and farms in Marshland St. James. An active member of the community has helped at Gala days and served as Chairman of The Jubilee Hall Trustees. He is a Trustee of the Marshland & District Community & Sports Centre working closely with the developer. John is Chairman of the King’s Lynn and District Internal Draining Board Plant & Works committee.

Sonya Gowler

Sonya moved to Marshland St James from Emneth in 1994 after her marriage to James Gowler who has lived in the village for 50 years. They have three children. For the last 23yrs Sonya has worked at a school within Wisbech for children with special educational needs as a level three teaching assistant and has a good understanding and experience of children with PMLD, SLD, MLD, ASD, and ADD/ADHD. She is an active member of MDCSC and main role of planning and organising fundraising events within the local community. Previously she was a chairperson for friends of the school association where her children attended. More recently Sonya has been involved in the setting up and running of a local football club (Marshland Saints FC), which is for adults and children and is currently the treasurer.

David Gathercole

David has lived in Marshland St James all his life. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Parish Council (he has served on the Parish Council for over 25 years and has been its Chairman twice), and he is also a member of the Playing Field Management Committee. In the past he has served on the Kings Lynn and District Internal Drainage Board and on the management board of the William Day Centre in Tilney St Lawrence. He was a school governor at the primary school, and he was also Chairman of Marshland Rovers FC for a number of years. David is MDCSC's Treasurer - he is a Trustee and a member of the MDCSC organising committee.

Brian Long

Brian is currently Leader of West Norfolk and Kings Lynn Borough Council. He lives in the village and has been a local councillor for the Mershe Lande Ward for six years. He serves on the board of a number of other local bodies including the College of West Anglia, Freebridge Community Housing and the Kings Lynn Internal Drainage Board.

Jeremy Wilkinson

Jeremy has lived in Marshland St James for over 20 years. He is Assistant Headteacher at the Anthony Curton CofE Primary School in Walpole St Peter and he is also a "spare time" (!!!) smallholder with sheep, cattle pigs and poultry. He serves on the village's Sports Field Management Committee.


Biographies of the Committee


Sue Askew

Sue worked for many years in the NHS, latterly as Practice Manager for Trinity Surgery. She has lived in Marshland St. James since 1976, joining the Friends of Marshland St James Primary when her children attended and served as  governor. Sue derved as a Trustee of the Jubilee Hall, Chairman of the Parish Council, member of the village WI and member of Marshland & District Community & Sports Centre. Sue promotes the village community at every opportunity.

Rebecca Robinson AATQB.

Rebecca moved to Marshland St James from Saffron Walden in 2013, previously working in the finance department of Saffron Building Society. She is Finance Officer of MDCSC and works for a small care company in Kings Lynn as a Finance Assistant. She has a young family and is keen to help develop the community facilities.

Joseph Gowler

has lived in the village all his life. He attended the two local primary schools and the local secondary school and currently works for the village drainage firm. At the age of 16 he founded the local football club and is still a major part of the running of the club. Through this he has brought back grassroots football in the village and hopes to increase ages and numbers in the game.

hy is a new Community and Sports Centre needed?
Marshland St James is a linear settlement with a population of 1209, situated in rural West Norfolk. The village does not have a single/central focal-point: most of the residential building development has been along a single long road called Marshland Smeeth. With an ageing population and significant levels of rural deprivation and isolation, it has poor access to public services and transport, and it has suffered over the past decades through a lack of investment and a loss of village facilities. The village no longer has for example a shop. On the index of total deprivation, Marshland St James is, at 8,198, ranked at 25.2%.
The existing village hall - Jubilee Hall - is a pre-WW2 timber-framed, metal-clad building which does not have effective heating/air conditioning systems, up-to-date electrical circuitry, or disabled toilet facilities. A recent survey concluded that it has a remaining life of approximately 5 years and it does not currently meet legislative requirements in terms of the Disability and Discrimination Act).
The current sports pavilion dates to ca1945, is of concrete/asbestos construction. It is badly dilapidated and barely fit for purpose (it has no showers/toilets, only a small changing area (single sex use only), it is not insulated, it has no heating, and no hot water.

Current Facilities

Community consultation has identified the need for:

  • Improved community centre facilities – Including provision of theatre-style staging, cinema, conferencing and seminar uses, external community garden, additional meeting room space for classes, training, group meetings etc, all fully compliant with current disability discrimination legislation.
  • Community shop and café space.
  • Improved sports changing facilities – including separate changing rooms for home and away teams, and match officials, modern showers and toilet facilities.

The project proposes to merge the two existing facilities – the village hall and the sports pavilion – into a new single multi-functional community and sports centre and shop to be situated at the Playing Field, Smeeth Road, Marshland St James, PE14 8JF.

The Trustees have engaged Swann Edwards Architecture of Wisbech as the Lead Professional (design and project management) for our project. Planning permission has been obtained. The Trustees have established a Construction Oversight Committee (comprising three Trustees and the Leads professional) to oversee progress on construction


The gross internal floor area of the new building is 553.5 sq m. The schedule of accommodation is as follows:

Space Area m2 Activities
Entrance and foyer 40.6 Reporting and meeting area
Main Hall 214 Events (weddings etc), dancing, yoga, theatre, cinema, indoor bowls
Kitchen 26 Catering and training kitchen
Conference room / second hall 54.1 Conference, meeting and private use room
Café and shop 36.4 Community shop and café space
M+F WCs 19.5
Bar area 8 Providing refreshments for social events
Office 4.8 Admin use
Second Entrance and foyer 27.9 Meeting and distribution area, access to sporting facilities
M+F changing rooms 82 Changing facilities for home and away teams and for officials
Storage 21.1 Cleaning equipment, materials, tables, chairs
Plant room 6.5

Thank you to all our donors!

Marshland St James and District Community and Sports Centre thanks the following donors for their generous support for the construction of Marshland Hall.

  • Paul Bassham Charitable Trust (£5,000)
  • Big Lottery Fund (£703,000)
  • Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Small Grants Scheme (£10,000)
  • Foyle Foundation (£7,500)
  • The Robert Hall Charity (£7,500)
  • The Hudson Foundation (£7,500)
  • Shelroy Charitable Trust Fund (£3,000)
  • Sport England (£65,000)
  • The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation (£10,000)
  • Tesco Bags of Help (£8,000)
  • The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation (£45,000)
  • The Geoffrey Watling Charity (£7,500)
  • Garfield Weston Foundation (£20,000)
  • WREN (£37,886.80)
  • The People and Businesses of Marshland St. James (£27,000)

The outcomes we expect to achieve from our project are as follows:

  • A stronger community, sustaining village life and community relations
  • Older people will feel less isolated, make new friends and feel part of a stronger community.
  • Local people will gain new skills and qualifications, improving their life chances and access to employment.
  • Local people will become more involved in sport and fitness, improving health, wellbeing and thereby reducing inactivity and obesity.
  • Local children and young people will make new friends, develop social and practical skills, improving relationships and their confidence.