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Paris Garden multi-sport pitches now open

Floodlit courts for tennis, basketball, volleyball and netball are now available to South Bank and Bankside residents close to Blackfriars Road.

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The Colombo Sports and Community Centre, based just off Blackfriars Road, provides affordable health, fitness, sports and social activities for people living or working in Lambeth and Southwark. Over the past three years it has been campaigning strenuously for decent outdoor facilities for the area.

In January 2003 planning permission was granted for the new multi-sport pitches to be built on the derelict Paris Garden site. The pitches will be open from 8am till 9.30pm every weekday and 10am till 5pm weekends (times may vary in the summer).

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The Colombo Centre's plans have not been without controversy: last year the Green Paris Garden Group put forward an alternative proposal for the site to be turned into a managed green space, but they were dismissed as a "small, vocal group" by the Colombo Centre who pointed to the strong demand from local residents for better sports provision in the area.

The centre will provide these sports facilities to the community free of charge on weekday evenings and at weekends. This will give an opportunity for existing local clubs to develop and recruit children and young people from the SE1 area, offering not just participation but also exit routes for the most talented of users. The site will be used in the future for local tournaments and rallies.

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What the site looked like in February 2003

The sites will help schools that cannot offer their pupils these facilities in their playgrounds to not only put sport on the timetable but to teach children the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle.

This project has been funded by Southwark Council through Section 106 money.

"These pitches are the most exciting facilities that have happened to this area for years," says Jennifer Mosley, the Colombo Centre's youth and community outreach worker. "I cannot wait to see and hear children and young people enjoying them and participating in organised games. I feel very proud of this achievement."

Kate Hoey MP says of the project" “At last young people in this area will have the chance to play sport on good quality facilities. These improvements have been made possible through the hard work of the local community led by Jennifer Mosley and the Colombo Centre. Well done to everyone who made this happen."

In addition to the Paris Garden multi-purpose sports pitches the Colombo Centre is also re-developing a currently derelict outdoor sports area into two synthetic sports pitches, expected to be completed in March 2005.

For more information or to book any of the courts please contact Jennifer Mosley on 020 7633 0835 or 020 7261 1658.

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