Team GB athlete cuts ribbon at launch of Daventry sports academy risen from ashes of youth centre

The former Phoenix Youth Centre has been completely revamped and renamed
The former Phoenix Youth Centre has been completely revamped and renamed

Daventry Phoenix Sports Academy held an official launch event to celebrate the completion of a £2million renovation and extension project.

Guests were invited for a look around the new facilities and were treated to demonstrations of some of the new activities on offer to the Daventry community.

Sam Ruddock cuts the ribbon as invited guests look on. (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Sam Ruddock cuts the ribbon as invited guests look on. (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Among those invited was London 2012 and Rio 2016 Team GB Paralympic track and field athlete Sam Ruddock, who cut the ribbon.

Councillor Colin Poole, Daventry District Council’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, said: “We have been very pleased to work with Daventry Phoenix Sports Academy on what has been one of our finest regeneration projects. My personal thanks to Rob Saunders at DDC for his tremendous input to the project.

“This community facility is now the finest of its kind in a 30-mile radius and it has been wonderful to see that come to fruition. The completed centre not only looks fantastic, but will be of enormous benefit to young people of all abilities right across the District for many years to come.”

The revamped and extended gym hall in the former Phoenix Youth Centre features a new sprung floor, two floor-level trampolines and a new pitted dismount area.

The revamped and extended gym hall features a new sprung floor, two floor-level trampolines and a new pitted dismount area. (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

The revamped and extended gym hall features a new sprung floor, two floor-level trampolines and a new pitted dismount area. (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

The whole facility is now wheelchair-friendly and includes an access lift to the lower gym hall. The centre also benefits from new toilets and showers together with a number of new changing areas, including male and female disabled facilities.

The centre has a new café area and parent viewing lounge, while the upper sports hall has been completely refurbished with the addition of a new pitched roof.

A range of other sports and activities are also now available, including parent and child sessions, pre-school activities and sports clubs, basketball, football, free-running, judo and holiday clubs. The centre is also developing a range of activities aimed at people with disabilities.

Marie Bannigan, centre director at the Daventry Phoenix Sports Academy, said: “We’re so pleased with the new centre. It’s been utterly transformed, and we’ve had lots of good feedback from our children and parents.

“So many people came together to make this happen, so we wanted to hold this launch event to say thank you, but also to show off some of the exciting activities we will be offering young people in our new-look home.

“On behalf of the trustees, staff and the young people of Daventry and District we would like to say a massive thank you to the DDC for their continued support and belief in the Phoenix Centre, to Sports England and Landform Estates for their support and vision of the future of Daventry, and to Keith Bedford, who volunteered so much of his time to help make this happen.”

Built in 1969, the popular centre welcomed 30,000 visits by children and young people in 2016, but with the future expansion of Daventry that is expected to grow to more than 50,000 visits per year by 2021.​

Sport England invested £500,000 in the new-look centre. Its property director Charles Johnston said: “Congratulations to all involved at the Daventry Phoenix Sports Academy and Daventry District Council on the achievement of this superb facility.

"The Improvement Fund at Sport England was established to provide funding to improve local facilities as we know people have a better experience of sport and physical activity when they have good facilities in which to play.

“This centre is a fantastic example of what partnership working can achieve and we would like to take this opportunity to thank those at both the Daventry Phoenix Sport Academy, and Daventry District Council, who have made this happen. We know this centre will help local people in Daventry, regardless of age, background or ability, take part in sport or physical activity.”