HAGS worked in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council to develop an innovative Multi- Use Games Area (MUGA), aimed at tackling inactivity, encouraging community spirit and promoting the practice of different sports for all ages and abilities. Installed on the Gorse Ride playing field, the MUGA perfectly complements the existing community facility (the FBC centre) which is owned and operated by the Finchampstead Baptist Church.
The MUGA was designed through consultation and engagement with the local Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG), Finchampstead Parish Council and other community representatives. Wokingham BC Assistant Project Manager Sam Warwick tells us “the main priority was to make families feel welcome”.
A community space offering diverse physical activity opportunities
The unique curved open plan design comprises one large bespoke multi-sport court crafted from solid structural steel which is covered by a lifetime guarantee. Two mini streetball courts (Sante Fe) and a bespoke tennis zone, lie adjacent to the arena configuration where players of all ages and abilities can practice skill building. There is also a bespoke multi skills area equipped with customised primary arena panels, designed to maximise the available space and facilitate a large number of people at once. The MUGA is completed with three table tennis tables and a unique curved 185m circuit, designed for health walks, jogging and cycling.
An inclusive space nurturing social interaction
The lack of physical boundaries between the different play zones means that the site is more inviting, people can flow through the space rather being segregated. Incorporating seating to the area also contributes to creating an inclusive environment as people with low fitness levels can sit down after exercising and have a break between sessions.
By saving on the cost of fencing, an open plan games area also helps reduce the overall cost of the scheme without compromising on play value.
A safe, family-orientated environment
The open plan design also allows for natural surveillance as adults can see what is going on. A Thames Valley Police officer AnneMarie tell us “The new facility has deterred anti-social behaviour during the day, it is a very positive space…... I can’t stress enough how positive an impact it has had on the neighbourhood”.
Facility used by all
Cllr Angus Ross, Wokingham Borough Councils executive member for environment, says “This is a tremendous facility for Finchampstead and one that we know will be well-used”. Angie Gibson Wokingham Borough Councils Resources Manager also adds “the facility is already used by neighbouring schools and reading football club organise free training sessions for the public. We have also had interest from the SHINE programme (Some Health Improvements Need Exercise), intending to organise programmes for the over 60s”.
The FBC centre has also seen a significant increase in people using other community services and amenities. Café manager Luke tells us “Since the opening we have seen 95% new faces in the FBC café”.
Are you planning to raise funds for an outdoor space? Sport England's Active Nation funding programme is accepting applications from the 30th of January 2017. Read our fact sheet to know everything about Active Nation funding scheme.