- New Parks becomes the second area of Leicester to benefit from a Cruyff Court multi-use games area
- Three LCFC Women's stars joined a host of Club legends, including Gary Lineker, to open the new Cruyff Court
- It is funded by Walkers and The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation and combines a series of local and international partnerships
- Leicester City in the Community will use the area to deliver sessions to young and old people in the area
A series of current and former Leicester City stars opened a brand new Cruyff Court in New Parks on Thursday. LCFC Women players Abbie McManus, Sophie Barker and Ashleigh Plumptre joined legends Steve Walsh, Emile Heskey, Matt Elliott and Gary Lineker to unveil the new pitch.
The court, funded by Walkers and The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation, partners the UEFA Foundation for children and streetfootballworld, and locally with the Cruyff Foundation, Leicester City in the Community, Leicester City Council and Team Hub CIC.
Leicester City in the Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, Matt Bray commented on Leicester City in the Community's involvement in this extensive partnership.
“This is where our work starts," he said. “We have 15 hours of activity a week taking place and we hope that’s really going to make an impact in the community.
Cruyff Court Opening
People young and old will be able to access the new Cruyff Court for various Leicester City in the Community sessions.
“The pitch will be open to the public seven days a week between 9am to 10pm for the local community to come and enjoy playing football in a safe environment.”
Made in part using empty crisp packets, Leicester City’s charitable arm – Leicester City in the Community – will use the court to deliver mental health workshops, employability interventions and football fitness sessions.
This will include 250 programme participants and 220 family members who will be positively impacted from the sessions created in partnership with the Cruyff Foundation and Leicester City in the Community.
Former Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Willy Bach, one of the figureheads behind the Cruyff Court, spoke about the benefits it will bring to the New Parks community.
“I have known New Parks for many years, my eldest children went to school here and it means a lot to me,” he commented. “I am really excited after seeing this fantastic facility open, it has been a wonderful day.
Myself growing up as a child, I would always search for a place like this to come and play football, release some steam and meet new friends, so it is an exciting place to be.Abbie McManus LCFC Women defender
“We hope the local community take advantage of it, it’s a move towards living as a community, working together – as a facility this is superb, and I think it will be a great success.”
The array of Foxes stars took part in a Leicester City in the Community football-based session, with warm-up and ball-skill challenges taking place to commence the opening.
Attending her first community appearance, LCFC Women defender McManus praised the inclusivity of the sessions that will take place at the Cruyff Court.
“The event has been great,” the 28-year-old said. “It is amazing to think the artificial grass has got recycled Walkers crisp packets underneath, it is amazing for the planet as well as the community of Leicester.
Cruyff Court Opening
LCFC Women's Ashleigh Plumptre and Sophie Barker alongside some of the local community participants at the opening.
“Myself growing up as a child, I would always search for a place like this to come and play football, release some steam and meet new friends, so it is an exciting place to be.
“If there are now girl-only sessions, that is only going to bring out the best in young girls that are shy; it might give them life skills that they can keep forever.”
Leicester City in the Community have already begun delivering sessions on the facility, with its first session having taken place on Saturday 11 September.
Contact Matt.Bray@lcfc.co.uk for more on the New Parks Cruyff Court and to see what sessions you can be a part of, while you can also book your place on upcoming New Parks PL Kicks and Skills Centres sessions.
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