April 22, 2024

Official opening of £3.6M Performance Archery Centre

A new Performance Archery Centre has officially opened at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, in Shropshire. The facility, funded by Sport England with support from UK Sport, will be used by Olympic and Paralympic archers as their daily elite training environment in the run up to the Paris 2024 Games.

As the ‘Home of British Performance Archery’, Lilleshall also serves as a base for Talent Pathway athletes aiming to get onto UK Sport’s World Class archery programme and the National Compound Squad. Community activity including grassroots sport will take place at the centre as part of Sport England’s ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy.

Representatives from the world of sport were invited along to the grand opening along with local archery club, the Audco Archers, whose members ran a taster session for school children to try archery and meet some of the athletes heading to Paris this year.

Archery GB have been based at Lilleshall for over 20 years. Previously Sport England funded the re-purposing of a sports hall and synthetic football surface as an archery facility. Over time the environment could not be further redeveloped to achieve the standards needed for a modern elite daily training environment. Adding a dedicated archery facility to Lilleshall’s onsite auxiliary facilities (elite athlete support services, catering, accommodation, conferencing and offices) means Lilleshall now provides a turn-key solution for all archery activities. The new facility features a 70m indoor and outdoor shooting range, enabling all-year-round shooting, changing rooms, coaching and training support areas, toilets as well as car and cycle parking. Facilities are on the same level and are fully inclusive and accessible.

The centre has a number of green initiatives including an array of south-facing solar panels on the roof along with additional battery storage to ensure the benefit is gained all year-round. Hot water is generated via air source heat pumps which are located externally to avoid the building requiring any kind of gas supply. The heat pumps ensure that the building increases its energy efficiency and reduces its carbon footprint.

Penny Healey shooting in the PAC

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Sport England Executive Director, Place, said: "This dedicated Archery Performance Centre will give elite archers the greatest opportunity to prepare and compete on the world stage.

"The centre provides talent development archers access to world class training facilities, whilst also making archery accessible to community groups and organisations and helping more people to enjoy the benefits of living active lives.

"We're looking forward to seeing people from all backgrounds and communities coming together in this facility to enjoy archery activities. In aiming to inspire and attract a future generation of archers, it's been fantastic to see young children from local schools giving the sport a go this morning."

Dr Kate Baker, UK Sport’s Performance Director, said: "We're excited about the opening of the new centre, we think it can be a real game changer for our Olympic and Paralympic archers, both in the run-in to Paris and looking ahead to LA and Brisbane.

"The ability to have focused time on task in a world class daily training environment is a key part of any world class programme, which this new facility delivers with its combined indoor and outdoor ranges.

"The eco-friendly nature also aligns strongly with our sustainability strategy, our goal for sports to have a net positive impact on the environment by 2040 is boosted by it."

The project was completed during the winter season to enable elite athletes the best possible preparations for this year's Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. The collaborative approach between Sport England, UK Sport, Serco and Archery GB to deliver this facility means Archery GB remains a long-term key partner at Lilleshall. The sport's National Governing Body have relocated into new offices on the site to enable staff to have a permanent base close to the new performance centre.

The athletes moved into the new centre in early December with four of them chosen at random to shoot the first arrows. The first indoor arrows were shot by Olympian Tom Hall and Para archer Jamie Harris. The first outdoor arrows were shot by Paralympic champion Phoebe Paterson Pine and World Class Programme athlete Alex Wise.

Crowd watching the speeches at the PAC opening

Today’s official opening saw the naming of the indoor range in honour of Margaret Maughan, a trailblazer of the Paralympic movement. The new outdoor range pays tribute to Simon Terry, the first British archer to win two medals at an Olympic Games.

Tom Duggan, Archery GB’s Performance Director, said: "We wanted to name the two ranges after Margaret Maughan and Simon Terry. Margaret Maughan was our first ever British Paralympic gold medallist at the 1960 Paralympic Games and Simon Terry was one of our most successful Olympic athletes, winning an individual and team medal in Barcelona in 1992, so we thought it was fitting to recognise their contribution to the sport and the programmes that they were a part of and which have enabled us to develop this centre and the programmes that we’re leading now."

Paralympian Nathan Macqueen said: "It's just amazing, I truly believe its probably the best facility in the world for archery and that it belongs to us is just amazing. It was just like Christmas come early (to get a first look inside). I could have pinched myself to be shooting out there. Its going to be a good building block for everything going on for the future of archery in Britain."

The new meeting room is named 'Los Angeles' after the next Games set to follow Paris in 2024.

Tom Duggan said: "It was really important to us that while this is what we do in the moment now as we build to Paris, we also want to keep an eye on the horizon for LA. This is about a long-term project in terms of how we realise our potential in both Paris and the LA cycle so we thought it was fitting that the room where we will meet to discuss how we execute the strategy and how athletes are on track to the future, will be recognised by calling that the Los Angeles room."

Olympian Bryony Pitman said: "I think there's an element of us being able to shoot with the compound Paras, their recurves being able to shoot with us, it's something that can benefit everybody and help everybody progress but also just making us part of one big team rather than two separate programmes. It's really exciting and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in!"

Tom Duggan added: "I'd like to thank Sport England, UK Sport and Serco for the opportunity to create a purpose-built Performance Archery Centre and to Speller Metcalfe and Abacus for the work that they did in helping us build the centre."

Steve Nelson, Serco Operations Director said: "As operators of Lilleshall National Sports Centre since 2011, we have supported Archery GB for well over a decade, during which time we have built a strong collaborative relationship.

"We're delighted to see this project come to fruition for Archery GB and all the athletes it supports, who will be benefitting from this incredible new performance centre."

Rob Lashford, Divisional Director at Speller Metcalfe, said: "We're delighted to have handed over the new archery centre to Sport England, Archery GB and the athletes. This project has been a success from start to finish and we know that it will support our athletes in their success going forwards."

Lilleshall National Sports Centre is owned by the Sports Council Trust Company, a subsidiary of Sport England.

Our Partners & Sponsors

Follow us

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

OK, got it.