WORK to create a brand new football, cricket and outdoor sports centre for the Manadon and Honicknowle communities is nearing completion.
A Football Association-standard all-weather 3G pitch opened in May 2018 and construction of the pavilion, which started in July 2018, is now in the final stages.
When it opens in the spring the building will offer a permanent office for Argyle Community Trust, four changing rooms, an education and training room, as well as a multi-purpose space for meetings and social functions.
“We are excited to be making such good progress with the build and are eager to welcome people into the space when it opens this spring,” said Mark Lovell, CEO of Argyle Community Trust, “This space is more than just a place where people play sport but it will be a place that the community can use at its centre for education and social events.”
The all-weather pitch has already proved popular with players of all ages and abilities, both through Trust-related programmes and general community use.
It has welcomed over 30,000 visitors since it opened and hosts 49 groups per week including schools, small-sided football leagues, football development, health and wellbeing activities, as well as disability teams, Frisbee clubs and community sessions.
As construction finishes on the pavilion, work to create two junior grass football pitches, an artificial cricket wicket and eight grass wickets on the main field by the building continues.
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. The hub will see the return of many cricket teams being based and able to play within the city boundary after many dedicated spaces disappeared for the sport in Plymouth.
Deputy Council Leader Pete Smith said: “It’s really exciting to see the project progressing so well, with the 3G pitch already a great success and work pressing ahead to create a new pavilion for the community and highly anticipated cricket facilities for the city.
“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.”
Councillor Peter Smith along with Argyle Community Trust CEO Mark Lovell and Cabinet Member for Finance at Plymouth City Council Cllr Mark Lowry have been on site to see how work on the new development was progressing.
It was Cllr Lowry’s first time viewing the development and he said: “I am surprised to see what I see here, it’s fantastic opportunity for the city to bring sport back into the community. Plymouth City Council and Argyle Community Trust are not only on the cusp of delivery fantastic sport facilities for the city but also providing essential community space, where people can just turn up and use the space to relax and socialise.”
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, making sporting opportunities and services of support and social interaction 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.