WORK to create a brand new football, cricket and outdoor sports centre for the Manadon and Honicknowle communities is progressing well, with phase two underway and phase three about to start.
A Football Association-standard all-weather pitch opened at the site in May and is already proving popular with players of all ages and abilities, both through Trust-related programmes and general community use.
Sessions include adults’ and veterans’ six-a-side leagues, over-50s walking football, community bookings and even pre-season training for Plymouth Argyle’s first team squad.
The second phase of work started in July with the steel frame of the two-storey pavilion being put into place. The pavilion will offer a permanent office for the Trust, four changing rooms, a training room and a multi-purpose space for meetings and social functions.
As construction continues on the pavilion, phase three work to create two junior grass football pitches, an artificial cricket wicket and eight grass wickets on the main field begins this week, along with improvements to the car park and site entrance.
The field will be completely out of bounds for the next five weeks while large machinery is in use and materials are delivered. Fencing will then be installed, providing a safe public walkway around the perimeter of the field during the rest of the works.
Alternative green spaces nearby include the Shakespeare Road playing fields, Bladder Meadow, Whitleigh Woods and Budshead Woods.
The Manadon Sports and Community Hub is being delivered by Argyle Community Trust and Plymouth City Council and will be one of the best sports facilities in the city.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have reached this pivotal stage in the project,” said Head of Argyle Community Trust Mark Lovell. “It has been a genuine partnership throughout and a source of huge pride that we have now reached the stage of seeing further development at the site, bringing us that much closer to the final outcome.”
Deputy Council Leader Pete Smith said: “It’s really exciting to see the progress of the project, with the 3G pitch already a great success and work pressing ahead to create a new pavilion, grass pitches and cricket wickets.
Every day we’re getting another step closer to creating Plymouth’s first cricket and football development hub, as well as a much-needed indoor space for community meetings and social activities.”
Funded by the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, Sport England and the England and Wales Cricket Board, supported by contributions from the Council and the Trust, the Manadon Sports and Community Hub will inspire people from across Plymouth and beyond and is expected to increase the number of people taking part in physical activity at the site from 17,500 a year to 30,000.
The facility will be transferred to the Trust as a community asset to ensure local people have a say in its running and make more sport more accessible to the wider community. The project will also create employment, apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities as well as access to training, development and life skills courses for young people.