Thursday 4th November saw a new £1m community facility and changing room officially opened by Islington Council's executive member for environment, Councillor Paul Smith.
The sports hub in Whittington Park is an advanced environmentally friendly building offering changing rooms, an impressive community room and a new Park Ranger’s base. The Hub's facilities also include the existing AGP, a new skate park, ecological site and outside gym equipment. The community room will be available for use by a wide range or organisations for numerous activities and meetings.
The facility is managed by the Islington Council Greenspace Division. Islington council are one of the first to use such a vast amount of environmental methods to improve facilities. When visiting the site, the first thing that strikes visitors is the grass topped roof which is accompanied by solar panels. There are also tubes on the roof which reflect natural light into the building.
The sports hub has been built for around £1,344,897, the project was funded with the help of a £723,000 capital grant and a £46,000 grant to help deliver a football programme from the Football Foundation.
The opening event saw pupils from Yerbury School using the facilities. They had a tour of the changing rooms where they were given Football Foundation T-shirts and caps. They also went into the community room which displayed before and after photos on the wall which emphasised the work done on the site from beginning to end, giving everybody an illustration of the amount of work that has gone into building this state of the art facility.
The building also contains a large corridor which has tall pine walls, project manager David Walton suggested it could be used to exhibit art, which would provide even more opportunities for bringing the community together.
After the tour of the building the children were directed to the new skate and cycle park, where secondary school pupils gave demonstrations using their BMX bikes, which had been provided by a local scheme - designed to encourage children to ride their bicycles to school. The skate park is situated next to the new ecological site. Although the site appeared to be rather bare, it was evident that a lot of community work was going to take place to plant flowers and trees. At the opening event, It was mentioned that the ecological site was going to be used alongside the AGP to attract children to play football and then educate them in ecological issues. The children then took part in training sessions on the new AGP.
Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council's executive member for environment, said: “These new facilities are a wonderful addition to the ongoing improvements in Whittington Park. Helped by financial assistance from the Football Foundation the local community have a park to be proud of.”
The new build and site looks stylish and practical, walking through the park it is easy to see the benefits of the financial help. The park has progressed from an empty park that pedestrians were wary of walking through after dark, to a community park offering a variety of activities for all ages.
The Sports Hub is now available to a range of sports clubs and individuals wishing to use top quality facilities, making this a really focus for sport in Islington. The facility will be managed by the Islington Council Greenspace division. Bookings can be made by contacting Aquaterra on: 0207 700 1370.
View the press release.