Her Majesty The Queen accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened a unique community facility in Warrington last week, funded by a £1m grant from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
The hub is a unique project, which has been 15 years in the making, and transforms a former landfill site into a £30million state-of-the-art community facility providing a wide range of leisure, health and cultural services all under one roof.
The ‘Orford Park Project’ is widely regarded as an example of best practice in promoting joint service delivery and economic regeneration in one of Warrington’s most deprived areas.
Over 20 national, regional and local organisations are actively involved in the delivery of the scheme which provides first-class community facilities including:
Library and ICT suites; community activity and meeting rooms; 14-19 learning centre; café; swimming pools; health and fitness suite; dance studios; squash courts; sports hall; crèche; three GP practices and a pharmacy. The outdoor areas house a network of walking and cycling paths around the new grass sports pitches; skateboarding and BMX cycle park; upgraded children’s play area; floodlit bowling greens and a new pavilion.
Warrington Borough Council worked in partnership with the Liverpool County FA to secure a huge £1m grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
Speaking at the opening Paul Thorogood, CEO of the Football Foundation, said: “It is tremendous to see a facility like this open its doors to local residents. Sporting facilities are an essential component of any community, helping to address the country's high obesity rate and offering our young people a place to do something positive.
“We are delighted to support the Orford Park Project with the money provided by our funding partners, The FA, Premier League and government. Congratulations should go to Warrington Borough Council and the Liverpool County FA for their work and vision in making this impressive new sports site a reality.”
The Orford Park Project has been recognised as an Olympic Legacy Project, (the only one outside London), for its commitment to delivering a tangible and long-lasting legacy from the Olympic Games. It looks to provide sporting, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits that will continue to benefit the communities of Warrington for years to come. It was also awarded a London 2012 ‘Inspire Mark’ last year.
Cllr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted with what we have achieved; this brand new building pushes the boundaries of public service provision allowing the council and our partners to house many important services flexibly under one roof.
“This is something that will greatly benefit the local community and that the whole borough can be proud of. What we have here today is a state of the art facility in Warrington will be the envy of the whole country.”
Sport England’s Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “Our investment in Orford Park helps ensure that more people in Warrington will have the chance to play sport. The range of facilities – from skate parks to swimming pools and bowling greens – means it is truly a centre for the whole community; while bringing so many public services together in one place will help Orford Park to provide sustainable sporting facilities for many years to come. It is vital we continue to invest in and support facilities like Orford Park to ensure we deliver a lasting legacy well beyond London 2012.”
To find out more information about the project, all the partners involved and its funders visit http://orfordpark.warrington.gov.uk/default.aspx
For more information about the work of the Football Foundation visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
For more information contact: Richard Faulkner on 0845 345 4555 ext 4274 or email@example.com