As well as Council representatives including the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Councillor Peter and Mrs Brenda Brookshaw, guests included Balfour Beatty (the main contractor); Everyone Active (who will be operating the centre in partnership with the Council), Sport England and England Netball.
Representatives from the health sector, key project partners and national governing bodies also attended including the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), British Diving, the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA), England Squash & Racketball, Badminton England. All Council members were invited.
Everyone Active is holding a big open weekend on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March, when local people will be able to try out activities for free.
Councillor Pengelly said: “It is absolutely fantastic to be a part of such a momentous occasion for the city of Plymouth and a great honour to officially open the Plymouth Life Centre with the Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University. This is, without question, one of the highlights of my career as a city councillor. I would like to thank all those who have been instrumental in this exciting project and shown their support throughout. It makes me incredibly proud that so much hard work and dedication has gone into delivering this first-class sporting facility and it is wonderful to celebrate and recognise everyone’s invaluable input.
“The Plymouth Life Centre is a shining example of sporting excellence that the whole of the South West region can be proud. A wide variety of people will benefit from the centre and there is something on offer for everyone. We want to create a lasting legacy and inspire people across Plymouth to achieve life-long participation in sport and physical activity.”
Plymouth City Council has received financial support from key capital funding partners including £2.5 million from Plymouth University and £2 million from Sport England’s Iconic Facilities Fund, which – as part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme – is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. The Plymouth Life Centre will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark, celebrating the link to the Games after receiving Lottery funding from Sport England’s legacy programme.
Professor Wendy Purcell said: “Plymouth University was a key champion of the Plymouth Life Centre and invested £2.5 million to help bring the project to fruition. This reflects our ambitions for the city and demonstrates our commitment to working with partners to the benefit of the communities we serve. As a university we know that sport and recreation play an important role in maintaining a sense of wellbeing and community spirit. As such, the Plymouth Life Centre will benefit everyone – from elite athletes to recreational users – and will enhance the university student experience on offer.”
Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England, added: “With the Olympic and Paralympic Games now only months away, it's fantastic to see our legacy programme helping to bring world-class sporting opportunities to the South West. As a major hub for so many sports – from swimming, diving and table tennis to athletics, netball and badminton – the Plymouth Life Centre will give community users the opportunity to enjoy world class facilities next to elite athletes 2012, delivering a lasting sporting legacy well beyond the Games."
England Netball has invested £200,000 from its capital investment programme to develop international standard netball facilities as part of the Plymouth Life Centre.
Paul Clark, Chief Executive Officer for England Netball commented: “England Netball is delighted to support Plymouth Life Centre and look forward to the positive impact that will be had on participation levels in the South West. It is a fantastic opportunity for our netballers to take advantage of these great facilities in the region and will serve our athletes with world class facilities in which to train and play.”
The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) is investing a significant six figure sum into the infrastructure, to ensure that this world-class facility has the resources to maximise its delivery programmes for athletes, coaches, teachers and support staff in aquatics.
Nick Sellwood from the Amateur Swimming Association said: “The ASA is pleased to support the development of a Beacon programme for aquatics, which will provide a seamless pathway for athletes to develop from learn to swim through to development stages onwards to elite performance levels and then retained for lifelong participation.”
The aquatic facilities will be among the largest in the country; including leisure water and flumes, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and an international diving facility.
It is also one of only a few pools in the country to have three moveable floors in the main pool. The Plymouth Life Centre will be the host venue for a Beacon Programme serving this part of South West England and will be one of a network of nine Beacon Programmes operating across England.
Further investment and service level agreements have also come from the Amateur Swimming Association, England Squash & Racquetball and the English Table Tennis Association. The Plymouth Life Centre is also working in partnership with other organisations such as the England Indoor Bowls Association, England Badminton and Plymouth Dance.
The Plymouth Life Centre will be a leading centre of sporting excellence in the South West and an official pre-Olympic Games training camp for the Canadian diving and Lithuanian swimming teams. The flexible-use facility will provide a premier venue for local, national and international sporting events.
More information can be found at www.plymouth.gov.uk/lifecentre.
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