Central Park’s Community Sports Hub is set to be take centre stage in an exciting new social prescribing project.
The sports hub, which opened just prior to the pandemic in March 2020, is situated in the heart of the park on the site of the old bowling pavilion and complements the existing bowling greens.
Now, in partnership with Argyle Community Trust and Livewell Southwest, it will become a base for a green social prescribing scheme which will involve the Trust running activities for people of all ages based around sport, the outdoors and nature.
Social prescribing, also sometimes known as community referral, is a means of enabling health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. The referrals generally, but not exclusively, come from professionals working in primary care settings, for example, GPs or practice nurses.
It has been made possible through funding from the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP), Arts Council England, Historic England, Natural England, NHS England and Improvement, Sport England, the Money and Pensions Service, and NHS Charities Together, as part of the Thriving Communities programme.
In addition, the Argyle Community Trust will take on the management of the sports hub, which was built by the Council as part of wider improvements to Central Park with contributions from the Football Foundation. It features changing rooms, accessible toilets and storage facilities as well as upgrades to the community hall and kitchen, all of which will be managed on a daily basis by a team of Argyle Community Trust staff.
By working with local partners, clubs and stakeholders, Argyle Community Trust will create a vibrant and welcoming environment that can be enjoyed by all visitors to the park, whilst establishing new services aimed at increasing physical activity, supporting health and wellbeing inequalities and empowering people to become socially engaged by adding to the park’s existing amenities.
The work of the Trust will support the development of annual events and initiatives such as Park Run, in order to bring people to the park and raise funds to ensure the facility becomes self-sustaining.
The fund will enable the Trust to lead on the delivery of various sports and physical activity sessions, nature and wildlife activities with the Council’s Green Minds team and inclusive community arts with the Theatre Royal’s Funky Llama team.
Councillor Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, pictured above with the Trust’s Lewis Coombes, said: “For years now the Argyle Community Trust and its many programmes have been synonymous with making a difference to people of all ages across the city.
“I can’t think of any organisation better equipped to run the Community Sports Hub and I look forward to seeing people, young and old, enjoying the facilities in the years to come.”
Mark Lovell, CEO, Argyle Community Trust said: “We are proud to be presented with this opportunity by the Council and are looking forward to working in unison to develop the facilities. We will work to make this more than just a space where people play sport, it will be a place that the community can use at its centre for education and social events.
“The project has involved a great deal of planning and I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Plymouth City Council and all the partners involved. We have already formed a strong relationship since the asset transfer of Manadon Sports and Community Hub to the Trust, which is already self-sustaining and well established within its community.”
Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for Street Scene and the Environment, Plymouth City Council says: “We are very excited to use this programme as a platform to promote the park’s natural environment and high quality facilities as a safe and welcoming space to support everyone’s health and wellbeing.”
The outdoor sports facilities will be used by Devon Junior and Minor Football League, Plymouth and West Devon League, Plymouth University Football and Rugby teams, Friends of Central Park, tennis coaching services and the Central Park Bowling Association.
The hub will facilitate various programmes delivered by Argyle Community Trust including employability, education, and recreational activity as well as letting out rooms to local businesses, organisations and activity providers who serve the needs of the community.
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