Deer Park Archers is a family orientated ‘not for profit’ Club that was set up in 1996 to run have-a-go archery sessions for Guides and Brownies at the Gloucestershire Guide Activity Centre.
A group of 10 adults participated in an Archery Leaders Course to enable them to teach at the Guide Centre. Friends of Deer Park purchased all the original equipment.
Children of the original archery leaders also started archery and our Club was formed to allow these juniors to compete in local competitions.
The original summer venue was the small site opposite the Guide Centre, the first winter venue for seniors was the Green Dragon Pub and the juniors shot in our Club Secretary’s garage.
In 1999 Mark one of our original juniors (then aged 11) became our first archer selected to represent the County. Steph became the second a year later. By 2001 Steph, Amy and Sam gained the honor of Deer Park Archers Juniors winning the top Junior Club in the Region (Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall).
In 2001 Andrea became our first senior archer to shoot for the County and in 2002 Steph (Aged just 13 and shooting recurve) became the first junior Deer Park Archer to represent the County Senior Team.
By 2009 Di, Andrea, Amy, Steph, Rob, Nick, Laurance and Roger have all represented the Senior County Team with Mark, Steph, Steven, Amy, Sam, Chris, Rob, John, Alex, Beckie, Jessica and Callum having represented the Junior County Team.
2001 saw our winter venue become Birdlip Village Hall and 2003 we also started to use Balcarras School Sports Centre. During the summer of 2001 the summer venue changed to Bubbs Hill!
Up until 2003 the Club membership remained around 25, the following 3 years each saw an increase of around 20 archers with membership at the end of 2006 reaching just over 80.
2006 saw us creating a 12 acre Field Archery Course just 1 mile away from Bubbs Hill. It is thanks to a local farmer Mr Matt Hobbs who has not only allowed us to use the land (now called High Cross) but also purchased 24 foam bosses and an ample supply of target faces. 2007 saw the formation of our Field Archery Club (High Cross Field Archers) which will be affiliated to the NFAS.
2006 was also a very important year for the club as a number of its Archery Leaders decided to take the Level 1 Coaching Course, until that point the club had no coaches! By 2012 it had 29 coaches aged 16 to 65 from L1 to L3. This focus on coaching shaped the club and its approach to the sport.
2007 saw a significant development in the way the club was managed, the role of the coaches, its relationships with archery GB, Community Sports Partnership & local schools and membership numbers began to grow. Its success on the field also began to improve.
In 2008 High Cross (NFAS) broke away from the Club and we decided to set up a new field course around Bubbs Hill and Cowley Wood.
In subsequent years the emergence of Xperience Archery, the Archery GB Ontarget Programme, our relationship with Active Gloucestershire, our work in schools and the community and the club’s focus on the way the club is managed have taken us to great success both on and off the field of play!
In 2013 our membership reached 200. Our practice sessions became so popular that we had to take a number of decisions to accommodate the extra load and to ensure we maintained the high standards we continue to keep. We introduce a booking system for some of our indoor venues and split the sessions to double the capacity. We have also been able to establish a new evening venue at GL1 where we also support a session organised by the Recreation Centre. These changes have been so successful that we were able to increase participation levels and accommodate more regular practice sessions!
We have been fortunate enough to have been hosted by Gloucestershire Girlguiding for our main outdoor venue, as part of their plans to develop the Activity Centre they have successfully achieved planning permission for a new toilet, shower, kitchen and storage building on the spot where we shoot, as part of the planning consent they also have to establish a new entrance to the site which will be half way up the shooting range! Building work will be starting in March 2014.
To some degree this is timely as we have outgrown the venue. Following a search for a new venue we have identified an ideal plot situated in a perfect location for our membership. This will be a new chapter in the club’s long list of successes!
The Club would like to take this opportunity to thank Girlguiding Gloucestershire for hosting us and we will continue to support the Activity Centre through the provision of equipment and instructors to run their ‘have-a-go’ archery and other activities!
In March 2014 we announced a new venue for the summer season, it was anticipated that we will use that venue throughout the summer whilst we prepare our new ground. We would like to thank Gloucestershire County Council and Old Pats Rugby Club for their kind and very timely offer! It is also hoped that the new temporary venue will prove to be a success and that we will continue to develop that facility alongside our new ground! There are of course a lot of ‘ifs & buts’ however we have a vision!
During the summer of 2014 we have achieved planning consent on our new ground, confirmed our intention to purchase with the current owner, engaged a solicitor and hope to complete mid to late August. During that time we have also formed DEER PARK ARCHERS LIMITED a company limited by guarantee as well as taking the necessary steps to remain a CASC. In July we held a successful EGM to agree all the necessary steps to transfer the assets of the club to the company.
On the 12th August 2014 we became Deer Park Archers Limited. This allowed us to, transfer all the Club assets in line with HMRC guidelines, complete the purchase of our new ground and also as a Company Limited by Guarantee provide improved protection for all our members.
In 2015 we installed drainage funded by the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and became an Environmental Body.
In 2016 we were funded to build a covered shooting area by Sport England.