Date published: 12/08/2013
Mr David Cameron officially opened Wigan Youth Zone yesterday, describing it as one of his "proudest days as Prime Minister".
Mr Cameron originally visited the town several years ago to discuss plans for the facility with Wigan Athletic Chairman David Whelan.
Yesterday in front of crowd of young people, supporters and Youth Zone volunteers, he said: "To be here to actually see this facility open gives me a tremendous amount of pride. It is a great day for Wigan who can now say they have the biggest youth club in the country."
Wigan Youth Zone opened on 8 June 2013 and already has 6,000 young members who enjoy the facility.
Mr Cameron continued: "It is a massive boost for Wigan and it is really something the town can be proud of."
Simon Baker, Wigan Youth Zone Development Manager, said: "Today has been a great day to inspire young people and make them realise just what they can achieve in life.
"Our official opening has been years in the making and we thank not only Mr Cameron for coming down but also our patrons, volunteers, staff and of course the young people."
The Prime Minister stayed at Wigan Youth Zone for more than two hours playing table football, helping young people on the facility's 10ft climbing wall and chatting with the young members. In the state of the art gym he met Andrea Bianchi, UK Director of Technogym who gifted all the fitness equipment to the facility straight from the London 2012 Olympic Village. He also met with founder patrons, the Mayor of Wigan Councillor Billy Rotherham and Chairman of the Premier League Anthony Fry.
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, said: "Wigan Athletic has a fantastic reputation for community development delivery and now the club is set to become an even more important hub thanks to the Wigan Youth Zone. That is what Premier League Community Facility Fund is all about, providing sports facilities that reinvigorate communities."
A £350,000 grant was awarded to the project by the Premier League Community Facility Fund: funded by the Premier League and delivered by the Football Foundation, £18m is being invested through the Fund to develop new or refurbished sports facilities for local people across the country. The Fund is open to all football club community-led organisations from the Premier League, Football League, and Football Conference, including the Conference North and South Divisions.
The new PLCFF-enhanced sites help to strengthen links between professional football clubs and their communities, becoming venues for the clubs’ outreach work.
Wigan Youth Zone was the brainchild of Founder Patrons David Whelan, Martin Ainscough and Bill Ainscough who each gave generous donations to ensure the project got off the ground.
Wigan Council further supported the gesture by gifting the land for the facility and agreeing to support the facility's running costs for the next three years.
Mr Cameron concluded: "What you get out of life is what you put into life. I would like to thank all of the people who put everything into building this facility."
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