MUGA Launch event, 12 April
MUGA Launch Event, 12 April
Last week, we celebrated the opening of our new MUGA sports facility. This was a joint event with Fulham FC Foundation, our key delivery partner in running organised football coaching sessions. The event was well attended by a mix of sports and funding officials, as well as Lambeth’s key staff members responsible for this project, other community partners, and the local community.
The event provided the opportunity to thank our funders and acknowledge our key partners for their contribution to the overall project and to this event, which was addressed by the Chair of Roupell Park Board, Mary Simpson: Without the two principal funders, the Veolia Environmental Trust, and the Football Foundation (a Premier League, Football Association, and Central Government funded charity), it would not have been possible to meet the cost of this almost quarter of a million-pound project.
We were privileged to have our local MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy at the event. Bell addressed the crowd by acknowledging how much potential this new amenity has for the local community, especially in the post Covid environment, and how well it ties in with the wider Active Lambeth plan.
In addition, Fulham midfielder, Nathaniel Chalobah, made a guest appearance, saying that this new facility makes him feel “jealous”, as growing up in Gipsy Hill he didn’t have the privilege of playing on such a fine surface. All this made our young people feel very special and cared for. Nathaniel signed numerous autographs and posed for many ‘selfies’ with our youngsters, adding to their excitement.
Fulham FC Foundation’s CEO, Mike McSweeney concluded with a speech that rounded-up the importance of partnership working, underscoring how far this can take individual organisations.
A memorial plaque, commemorating the sad loss of Paul Smithers, who died of Covid early this year, was ‘unveiled’ on the MUGA. Paul was Fulham’s Youth Manager, and the MUGA is his tangible legacy here at Roupell Park; he was instrumental in making this facility happen and, for his dedication in all that he did, he will be remembered.
Fulham FC Foundation’s team, under the guidance of Tom Lyons, ran a range of activities, in particular for young people with disabilities and a mini-Kicks session. CEF Lyncx, a grass roots charity who we have worked with over a number of years, brought a group of SEND young people who thoroughly enjoyed the activities on the pitch, which were run by Fulham FC Foundation’s disability coaches. The St Matthew’s project founder, Lee Dema, brought a girls-only squad to the event; they now successfully run girls-only sessions in partnership with Fulham FC Foundation.
Altogether, there was a real buzz and some useful networking at the event, encouraging our young people to enjoy and look after this amenity as their own. The Football Foundation were filming the whole event, so we look forward to receiving the footage, which we will post on the website in due course.