A new basketball court and multi-sports space has opened in Peterborough’s Central Park, giving the opportunity to play some new sports there for the first time.

Two disused tennis courts were repaired, resurfaced, and converted into space for basketball, football, netball and pickleball.

Voluntary group Friends of Central Park coordinated the work, thanks to grants of more than £12,000 from Sport England/National Lottery and Living Sport.

Tony Forster, chair of Friends of Central Park, said: "Friends of Central Park have known for a number of years that a priority for young people is better sports facilities in the park.

"It’s great that we’ve taken this huge step forward, and we look forward to seeing the new facilities used by more and more people."

The new facility opened in early May and is already proving popular.

Asta Kavaliauskaite, a representative of Vytis Basketball Club, noted that "it’s really good to see the basketball court being actively used by local Peterborough youth on a daily basis".

Vytis was closely involved in the project and received funding from Sport England to deliver coaching sessions to under-16 and under-18 year olds.

These will take place on the court from June to August on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm, weather permitting.

As Central Park is close to local schools and colleges, the multi-sport space is likely to be well used by children and young people.

Kelly German, PE teacher at Thomas Deacon Academy, said: "Demand for basketball has been voiced amongst our young people and we are pleased to be able to further promote our community links with the facilities the beautiful Central Park has to offer." 

Another sport that will benefit from the facility is pickleball, a new and rapidly growing sport similar to tennis on a much smaller court.

Peterborough’s fledgling pickleball community contributed money themselves to pay for pickleball court markings, with the nets being kindly donated by Franklin Pickleball.

Neale Chinery, a pickleball player who lives near Central Park, said: "Pickleball is a sport for all ages and it is fantastic that we will now be able to play in Central Park." 

The multi-sport space adds to the many other sports opportunities in the park, such as table tennis, bowls, tennis, croquet and an outdoor gym.

The tennis courts have been upgraded this year after a major investment from the Lawn Tennis Association.

All the sports facilities in Central Park will be showcased in a major event on Saturday June 22, ‘Activate@Central’, organised by Friends of Central Park, where sports and activity providers will converge on the park to give children and young people free sports taster sessions.

More details are on Friends of Central Park’s website and social media.