New Sports Facilities For Raynes Park

Merton's Mayor launches building project

Staff and pupils gathered at Raynes Park High School to watch the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Gilli Lewis-Lavender launch the building works for a new Memorial Sports Ground.

The ground, named in memory of the Raynes Park High School pupils killed in action during World War II, will offer new sports facilities within a short walking distance for pupils at Raynes Park High School, Sacred Heart Primary School and West Wimbledon Primary School.

The building project covers 4.3 hectares and includes four grass football and cricket pitches for seniors and juniors, and a grass athletics area for javelin, discus, shotput, triple jump and a running track.

It also includes a four-team changing pavilion, with two extra changing rooms for officials, a social room which can be used as a flexible teaching space and a kitchen.

It should be open for use by the schools and the wider community before the London 2012 Olympics, with an official opening set for September 2012.

The Football Foundation has contributed £339,364 to help fund the project. Additional funding comes from Merton Borough Council leasing Raynes Park High School ’s current playing field.

Proceeds from sponsored walks, summer fairs and raffles organised by the three schools and the local community have also helped finance the development of the new playing fields and facilities.

Other financial support came from the London Marathon Trust (£150,000), Raynes Park Former Pupils' Society (£40,000), Garfield Weston Foundation (£15,000), F&C investments (£50,000) and Tesco New Malden (£5,000).

Pupils of Raynes Park High School currently have to use playing fields that are a 30-minute walk from the school site; while West Wimbledon and Sacred Heart Primary School do not have access to a playing field. The new, larger playing fields will be 300 metres from the Raynes Park High School.

Mayor, Councillor Gilli Lewis-Lavender (pictured above with staff and pupils) said: "There are some great projects taking shape in Merton which encourage residents to exercise and live healthy lifestyles.

"Its important for children to be able to use good sports facilities in their schools to help them keep active. I look forward to seeing the new Memorial Sports Ground being used fully next year."

Chief Executive of the Football Foundation Paul Thorogood said: "This funding is excellent news for Raynes Park High School and the local community. The Surrey FA deserve credit for their hard work in making this happen. This is the latest example of thousands of projects across the country that the Football Foundation is supporting with money provided by our funding partners the Premier League, The FA and Government.

"Since the Foundation was set up in 2000 it has worked closely with the Surrey FA to support 189 grass roots sports projects across the county with grants worth £11.2m. These grants have attracted further partnership funding of £9.9m into the area's grass roots."

July 20, 2011