L-R: Cllr Kirk Master, Steve Walsh & Willy Bach
City Legend, Steve Walsh, has met with the Police & Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach and his Deputy, Cllr Kirk Master to mark the allocation of extra cash for Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) in Leicester.
‘Walshie’, the double goal scoring hero of the 1994 Wembley Play-off Final, which saw Leicester City beat Derby County to return to the Premier League, joined Willy and Kirk at the existing MUGA in Spinney Hill Park in his role as an ambassador for Leicester City in the Community, the charitable arm of the football club, which is backing the project.
Lord Bach, who will step down from his role following the election of a successor on Thursday 6 May, has allocated £100,000 to a collaborative project involving Leicester City Council, The Football Foundation and The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation. The project will deliver additional community sports facilities, along with wrap-around support including coaching and fitness advice, in several locations across the city. The initiative builds on the success of existing courts which have stimulated community involvement and provided a positive experience for young people.
Willy Bach said: “MUGA courts like the one here in Spinney Hill Park help to create a sense of belonging, reduce vandalism, and develops other positive behaviours. Crime prevention is not the primary objective of sport and physical activity, but it can be an extremely positive by-product. There is strong evidence to suggest that decent sports facilities in the local community can help to steer young people away from trouble.
“I’ve been totally committed to supporting the development of community facilities like this throughout my term of office and I’m delighted to put the funding in place to help the City Council deliver further courts in Leicester.”
Steve Walsh said: “Sadly, the MUGA was closed because of COVID restrictions, so I was unable to put Willy and Kirk through their paces. Pitches like this are a great idea. They bring kids together and give them a way of staying fit and active. And with bit of luck, it keeps them out of mischief too.”
Leicester Deputy City Mayor responsible for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “We welcome this investment to help provide better sports facilities in a number of city communities, and to create new opportunities for local young people to get involved in physical activity.”
Leicester Deputy City Mayor for neighbourhoods, and deputy police and crime commissioner Cllr Kirk Master, said: “This is fantastic news, both in terms of improving games areas in our parks and ensuring that the right facilities are accessible to city youngsters.
“We know that being engaged in meaningful sports and other recreation can help steer young people away from crime and antisocial behaviour, so the benefit of this investment should be felt across the wider community.”
The funding allocation by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner includes £50,000 in the current financial year and £50,000 across two subsequent years. A further £58,000 has been secured from the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation’s 2020 Gift of a Wish programme. The specific locations of the new courts are subject to planning permission and will be announced by the City Council in the coming months.
The MUGA Court at Spinney Hill Park will reopen in the Summer dependent on the lifting of COVID restrictions.
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Posted on Wednesday 17th March 2021