Free space on the brand-new play equipment and sporting facilities in Dagenham’s Valence Park was in short supply yesterday (Tuesday 26 March) as the renovated park was officially opened.
London Sport have played a major part in supporting the redevelopment and were on site to witness huge numbers of children, parents and members of the local community playing and getting active at the new facilities.
Local mother Lisa Adams led the campaign and fundraising efforts to redevelop the park working alongside Avril McIntyre of Community Resources and London Sport Relationship Manager Matt Roebuck.
Lisa’s efforts, backed by Community Resources and London Sport, led to investment totalling £250,000 over two years through grants from The London Marathon Charitable Trust, Veolia, Sport England, Barking and Dagenham Council and crowdfunding to support the project.
The floodlit space now has a PlayInnovation ‘Hype Court’ including space for wallball, basketball and football as well as a state-of-the-art outdoor gym area from The Great Outdoor Gym Company.
As part of the celebrations in Valence Park on Tuesday, members of the public took part in a community workout and gym induction with TGO Gym ambassador Marvin Ambrosius.
London Lions’ Lamar Roberts was also on hand to provide a free basketball session to boys and girls from nearby Sydney Russell School on the brand-new court.
Ms Adams said:
“It was really amazing, we’re really happy with how it turned out. It’s my local park, it’s where I’ve brought my children for a number of years, and the equipment was quite shabby.
“I’m really happy to see everyone enjoying it. It’s about getting the local community activated and enjoying the park.
“That’s what London Sport are really promoting, that people get active, get back out there and enjoy it. It is a facility for the whole family.”
Barking and Dagenham’s Relationship Manager Matt Roebuck said:
“We believe in helping Londoners lead more active lives – but that doesn’t mean bringing down a bag of balls or telling people to visit their local leisure centre.
“We’re here to support communities to take control of their environment and use it to be active in a way that makes sense for them.
“When we’re able to facilitate links between communities and partners like The Great Outdoor Gym Company, PlayInnovation and Barking and Dagenham Council all the better.
“Every little helps to get the community to take control of Valence Park as a place you can play, have fun and be active.”
Playinnovation Founder Marco Boi, said:
“We have been involved in a number of innovative projects across London, however, the partnership approach, working closely with London Sport, LBBD Council and the Valence Park community, driven by Lisa Adams and her passion to improve the local environment, has been out of this world.
“Our whole team is immensely proud to have been involved from the beginning, and we look forward to our continued involvement in the future of this truly amazing community project.”