Representatives from the Amateur Swimming Association, Plymouth Netball and English Table Tennis Association were invited by Plymouth City Council Leader Vivien Pengelly and Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure (pictured).
Jo John, Sharron Robbie and Chris Brown (also pictured) expressed their continued support for the development and said they believe it will bring huge benefits to people in Plymouth and the wider South West.
Due to open to the public in February next year, the facility will include an Olympic-sized 50-metre swimming pool with moveable floors and flexible booms, diving pool, climbing wall, multi-use sports hall, fitness suite and bowls rink.
Councillor Pengelly said: “We’re now just a matter of months away from the Plymouth Life Centre being opened to the public and it’s hugely encouraging to hear so many positive comments from both professional and amateur sporting groups. They are all championing this fantastic new facility and looking forward to it opening in February.”
The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) is making a significant three-year investment in an athlete support programme at the Plymouth Life Centre, as well as £40,000 to support water polo players.
Jo John, Talent Development Officer for the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) said: “Plymouth has already provided swimmers and divers for the national stage but this facility will mean that competitors do not need to look at moving away from the city at certain ages to access better facilities. More athletes will be able to stay closer to home with the support mechanisms that provide continuing further education in Plymouth whilst working towards their highest goals, potentially increasing the number of international athletes from the city and encouraging others to the area.”
The 12-court multi-use sports hall will be flexible to provide for the specific needs of several sports including netball, basketball, table tennis and badminton.
Andrew Tippett, Head Coach of the Mayflower Junior Badminton Club said: “The Plymouth Life Centre will offer Mayflower Junior Badminton Club an excellent opportunity to develop its junior players by potentially providing a more coherent and structured badminton set-up. With the provision of 12 badminton courts and the support of the governing body, Badminton England, the club can encourage more junior players to take up the sport and expand junior badminton participation across the city.”
£200,000 has also been invested by England Netball to allow the facility to develop as a regional and county netball centre.
Sharron Robbie, Chair of Plymouth Netball, said the new facilities will be instrumental in helping to grow the sport in the city. "It’s going to have a massive impact on netball in Plymouth and the wider area in a very positive way,” she said. “The Plymouth Life Centre provides, for the very first time, a purpose-built venue for netball and this is something that Plymouth Netball has waited many, many years for. The fabulous, state-of-the-art facilities will offer us the opportunity to showcase netball and will be instrumental in helping us to grow our sport, whilst sustaining grassroots initiatives and supporting elite player pathways."
The English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) has signed a two-year contract with Plymouth City Council to provide facilities and coaching at the Plymouth Life Centre.
Chris Brown, South West Regional Development Manager for ETTA said: “We are extremely excited about the prospect of training and competing in such a top class venue. The Plymouth Life Centre will help us to raise the profile of table tennis locally and attract new players, coaches, and major events to Plymouth. We already have a great volunteer base in the city and the Plymouth Life Centre will be the catalyst which helps us increase table tennis participation and membership in our local clubs. We would encourage anyone who fancies trying table tennis to come down to the Plymouth Life Centre and have a go!"
In addition, the Plymouth Life Centre has also been designed to improve access to sport for disabled groups in the city.
John Tiddy, President of the Plymouth Disabled Bowlers Club, is already looking forward to the centre opening: “The new Plymouth Life Centre will be the best thing the city has ever had for indoor sports and the Plymouth Disabled Bowlers Club is really looking forward to its opening next year. The facilities will be a much-needed improvement for everyone, particularly people with disabilities. As well as better access and better kitchen and toilet facilities, there will be eight rinks available so we will be able to hold more sessions and make it easier for more people to take part. The Plymouth Life Centre will make it possible for us to hold big competitions and encourage more people to take up the sport once the centre is open.”
For more information about the Plymouth Life Centre, visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/lifecentre.
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