West Ham and England Legend Opens New Memorial Park Sports Pitch in East London
Newham Mayor, Sir Robin Wales and football legend, Sir Trevor Brooking opened a new £2.8 million state-of-the-art sporting facility at Newham’s Memorial Park today.
The redevelopment includes a floodlit third generation (3G) synthetic turf pitch, two new changing pavilions and extensive improvements to the existing grass pitches. The new facility will create a new home for football and rugby in Newham.
The venue will be managed by West Ham and Plaistow New Deal for Communities and will host a range of grassroots sports programs, to help develop future football and rugby stars as well as keeping kids fit, active and social.
Sir Robin Wales said: “We've now got one of the best floodlight pitches in the country. We're continuing our drive of the last few years to get Newham residents involved in sport.
“There are plenty of sports-mad people in our borough, which boasts West Ham United, one of the oldest and best-known clubs in the world. This pitch will inspire youngsters and who knows we might unveil the next Bobby Moore or Rob Green.
“Sport is a great way to meet people, break down social barriers and an investment in yourself. So get your kit on and get down here. Together we'll give unhealthy lifestyles the boot."
Former West Ham United player and sports commentator Sir Trevor Brooking, who is Director of Football Development at the Football Association, said the facilities were first class and a real asset to the area.
“To have this sort of all-weather facility available to the residents of Newham is a great result. There are so many benefits to becoming involved in sports clubs and keeping healthy and active. Some of the friendships I’ve struck up through football have lasted a lifetime and the game has given me much joy and opportunity.”
Newham with the assistance of the London FA were awarded nearly £1million from the Football Foundation towards developing the Memorial Park facilities.
The Football Foundation, which invests money from the Premier League, The FA and Government into grassroots sport, has also provided Newham Council with £939,528 to redevelop the Flanders Field sports site with a brand new 3G artificial grass pitch and changing pavilion.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) made a contribution of £175,000 (£75,000 from the Community Club Development Programme (CCDP) and further facilitated a contribution of £100,000 from the CCDP multi-sports pot administered by Sport England). East London RFC and Kings Cross Steelers RFC are next-door neighbours at Memorial Park, and together with rugby-playing schools they are among the local groups who are looking forward to using the facilities.
The facilities were developed through a partnership including: Newham Council, West Ham and Plaistow New Deal for Communities, Football Foundation, Rugby Football Union, Sport England and University of East London.
Students from Star Primary School, Portway Primary School, Gainsborough Primary School, Grange Primary School, Curwen Primary School and Eastlea Community Secondary School were the first to put the new pitch through its paces. Students participated in football and rugby skills sessions.