Sporting inspiration for pupils as new £1.8M Priory Link opens
The road to future Olympic glory could start in Orpington as a new and improved sport and leisure facility opens its doors just two weeks before the start of London 2012.
The Priory School, social enterprise Mytime Active and national affordable housing provider Affinity Sutton with very generous support from the Football Foundation have invested a massive £1.8M to transform the original buildings into a quality state of the art complex offering affordable activities for the whole community.
Rhoys Wiggins, Charlton Athletic left back, officially opened the new complex, to be called the Priory Link, which has taken around a year to build.
The new facilities include: two brand new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches; eight purpose built changing rooms; two reconditioned grass pitches; and a community hall facility with integrated offices a training suite, hall for hire, sports hall, gymnasium, fitness suite, dance studio and conference spaces.
Its aim is to make getting active in Orpington affordable for all sections of the community and really improve the quality of community life on the Ramsden estate and beyond. Developing sporting opportunities for pupils at The Priory School and assist the growth of Orpington Football Club, who will form an additional 12 teams as part of a five year Football Development Plan.
Five local youth and one senior team will also use the new facilities for training, with forecasts estimating that over 2,400 new users will play sport at the site on a weekly basis.
Neil Miller, Head of School, The Priory School, said: “This new complex which has taken many years to develop from an innovative hub site idea into reality will provide the school and the local community with a highly desirable facility that will impact hugely on both the health and fitness of our students and local community but also allow for our students to aspire to the next level using facilities that many professional sports people would only dream of using.”
Matthew Parsonage, Head of Neighbourhood Investment for affordable housing provider Affinity Sutton, which is the largest landlord in Bromley and has invested £333,000 in building the new facility, said: “As a business for social purpose we are committed to investing in our neighbourhoods and creating opportunities for our communities to thrive. A huge number of our residents’ families attend the school and the aim of the Priory Link is to make getting active in Orpington affordable for everyone, who knows, some of them may even go on to become our Olympians of the future.”
Steve Price, Chief Executive of Mytime Active, which has also invested £333,000 in the new facility said ”As a social enterprise that believes in changing people’s lives for the better we’re delighted to be supporting and helping manage the new Priory Link’s services. At the heart of the community it will offer significant health and active lifestyle improvements for everyone, as well as increasing learning and skills opportunities.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, which provided a £400,000 grant for the project said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community. The Priory School has worked tirelessly in partnership with the London and Kent FA to reach this stage and deserve great credit for their efforts.
“High quality facilities are key to the quality of individual’s experience when playing sport. The more places that exist like this across the country, the more people will want to take part in regular sport. Having local hero.
“Projects like this would not be possible without the essential support of our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and the Government, whose crucial financial backing is helping to transform the grassroots landscape in this country.”