Young people from the Queensway area of Wellingborough are celebrating the official opening of their new sports court. The 18m x 10m multi-use court is the result of a petition sent in by the estate’s teenagers to the borough council.
A range of free sports were laid on at the opening event, organised by professional coaches from Northants Sport, and free footballs were given away. The court was officially opened by the Mayor of Wellingborough, Cllr Graham Lawman, at 2pm, with the free activities running until 4pm. The court is located behind Shelley Road and Wordsworth Road.
The court, which includes latest noise reduction technology, has permanent basketball hoops and line markings for football, cricket, hockey and much more. It is hoped it will help reduce the perception of antisocial behaviour by giving the young people a dedicated facility to use, while at the same time promoting healthy, outdoor activities. It also means the borough has an additional sports facility that can be used for more formal and structured activities in the future.
The idea for the court came from a group of young people who decided a few years ago to take responsibility for their environment, and worked with the council and Wellingborough Homes to tidy up the neighbourhood. They felt that the park area would be better if they had somewhere specific to play ball games, similar to the improvements that had been made in other areas of town such as on the Hemmingwell estate. Following their petition to the council, the teenagers had to demonstrate there was a genuine need, and a wider desire, for the facility.
Levi Allen, 18, was one of the young people behind the petition. He said: "A group of us from Allan Bank had the idea. Originally we wanted a new play area and sports area, but we were very happy to hear it would be a multi-court. As well as giving us something to do, it also provides a safe area for kids from the motorbikes and it's in an ideal location."
Cllr Andrew Scarborough, who represents the Queensway ward on the borough council, said: "The key thing about this project for me is that the idea came from local young people themselves. Getting to this stage has taken a lot of thought and planning and a number of changes to our ideas over time, but the young people are happy with the result and the response from local residents has clearly recognised the need for facilities of this sort."
The court has been funded by Wellingborough Council's capital programme, which is money that can't be used for day-to-day services but is kept instead for large projects that benefit the community.