LVRPA commits £250,000 to community programme as part of ice centre redevelopment

Proposed plans for the new twin ice rink at Lee Valley Ice Centre (Pic: Grayling)

Proposed plans for the new twin ice rink at Lee Valley Ice Centre (Pic: Grayling) - Credit: Archant

London’s first ever Olympic-sized twin-pad venue set to offer a broad range of community activities beyond ice sports with a decision on planning to be made next week

Plans for an all-new ice sports venue and community hub in East London will involve a fully funded community programme with £250,000 confirmed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA).

The fund will target those in need, opening up access to the new venue for local community groups and schools across both Waltham Forest and Hackney. 68,000 people are set to benefit with the ability to engage in activities free of charge.

The Community Engagement Programme will be delivered over the next ten years and LVRPA plans to work in collaboration with the London Boroughs of Waltham Forest and Hackney to identify where the Programme can have the most impact.

This will involve helping to identify relevant community and target groups where there is the most need. The programme will be aligned with the local priorities of both boroughs.

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The current venue provides regular access for local schools and community groups. The Authority already runs a Community Access Fund which has enabled 15,000 people from every part of London, Essex and Hertfordshire (the Authority’s funding partners) to access free physical activities at a variety of LVRPA venues.

This includes more than 480 individuals and 14 groups from Waltham Forest and more than 1,100 individuals and 25 groups from Hackney.

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Plans were submitted earlier this year for the new sports venue with a decision to be made next week by Waltham Forest Council.

The new venue would replace the popular current single-pad Lee Valley Ice Centre which, after 36 years of use, is nearing the end of its operational life and struggling to meet demand.

The plans also include an array of exterior environmental improvements which will transform the building to act as a gateway to the surrounding marshes.

This vital community asset and all the benefits it brings will be lost unless the venue is replaced.

Almost a third of skaters at the current Lee Valley Ice Centre are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background, and women and girls make up around 60% of visitors – groups statistically less likely to participate in sport[1] - and more than half of skaters are under 16. The proposed new centre with its two ice rinks would provide twice the ice for communities to participate in sport, and have a gym, dance studio, café and flexible community spaces. As the first twin-pad in London, it would attract regional and national audiences, and have a busy regional, national and international event programme.

The current Lee Valley Ice Centre is one of the most popular ice-skating venues in the UK. It is open seven days a week, for up to 19 hours a day, and accommodates around 279,000 visits a year from across London and the wider region. Around a third of visitors are from Waltham Forest and Hackney.

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority chief executive Shaun Dawson said: “We’re excited by the prospect of continuing and expanding our community activities as part of delivering the new ice centre.

“The key to success for Lee Valley Ice Centre, and indeed all of our venues, is opening up access to the widest possible audience and supporting those groups and people who often miss out.

“Our venues have a community ethos at their heart and we’ll endeavour to develop our core programme of activity to target and engage with all parts of the community. We’ll also develop our crime prevention programme in partnership with key stakeholders and through local youth engagement agencies and local Police Services to target young people in most need.”

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