December 2010 Elthorne Park The Cruyff Court Noel Headon, Islington Council
The Cruyff Court,
Islington in London
Wards of Islington
Population of Islington - 194,000
Islington is the 6th most deprived borough in the country
in 2026 the population of Islington is expected to be 232,800
Life expectancy in Islington is 71 for males and 79 for females
(Life expectancy in England is 77 for males and 82 for females)
Islington Council’s Leisure Team was approached by Arsenal FC and The Cryuff Foundation and asked to help in the regeneration of the Elthorne park pitch.
The project build time would be 16 weeks and the total cost would be in the region of £250,000 .
The pitch was programmed to be used as a community pitch with free sessions being run on the pitch. This pitch is cannot be booked which is the first of its kind in Islington.
The Islington Kickz project will be based at Elthorne Park. This was Islington's first Kickz project.
Elthorne Park and the surrounding areas
Elthorne park is the largest park in the Hillrise Ward
The Elthorne Park peace garden ‘ The Philip Noel Baker Peace Garden’ was opened in 1981 as a garden inside a park to give people a tranquil place to go.
Elthorne Park is in a regeneration area that links in with the Archway and A1 projects.
The area is well located with regard to schools and doctors surgeries and there is a proactive user group who look after the issues of the park.
Elthorne Park is in the Hillrise ward of Islington which is home to 11,382 people
over 25% (3086) of these residents are aged between 7-24 showing the need in the area for a football pitch
24.7% of people living in the area have no qualifications
13% of people in the area are unemployed
Elthorne Park when we started
Elthorne Park had a large tarmac football pitch in poor condition
Basketball court with practise hoops in poor condition
A Trim Trail going round the edge of the park
Anti Social behaviour going on at night – Drug Dealing, Sex Working, Street Drinking and large gangs of disengaged youths
A Boxing Club is on the southern edge of the park
Elthorne Before regeneration
The Planning Process
The Planning application once submitted would take 6 weeks to secure planning permission
The tender for works would be run in parallel with the planning process,
This Project had 5 contractors bid for the work at prices ranging from £239,00- £324,000.
The Planning Process
A lighting survey was carried out to identify the need for new lighting or the upgrading of lighting in the park.
When Planning is submitted we are given a case officer who deals with all queries regarding the project
Planning applications have to be submitted and the scheme is promoted in the local papers so all residents have an opportunity to make sure their voices are heard.
One of the most important aspects to me in any project is to make sure that the local residents and key user groups get heard in what the needs are for the park.
I attended a number local meeting groups to get to know the thoughts of local people including:
Friends of Elthorne Park Group
Caxton house user agroup
Islington Boxing Club
Youths groups- who represent the youths in the park
Parents whose children use the park
After we completed the consultation we found out that the following issues were considered important
Lighting in the Park
The facility was high quality
The sports facility to remain for the local area
Local clubs to be able to access the facilities
The Kickz project to have a base
The Pitch Renovation
The Football pitch would be a partnership between The Cruyff Foundation, Arsenal in the Community and Islington Council (Leisure Services).
The Cruyff Foundation through Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial donated €100,000 ( Circa £67,500 at the time). Dennis Bergkamp wanted to re-invest in the local community as a thank you for the local support.
The rest of the funding will come from Islington Council. (£182,500)
What next for Elthorne Park?
Since the Cruyff Court has been installed we have secured a number of new funding opportunities.
Firstly we sourced funding to replace the fencing on the basketball side of the park to improve security and make all the fencing in the sports area consistent.
The goals were boxed in at the request of local residents as the ball kept going over the goal mouth ( We may have a Dutch pitch but we still play long balls!!)
The Cruyff court was opened in June 2008 on time and on budget
We also created a full size basketball court next to the pitch and regular basketball sessions are run on the court
Both the Cruyff Court and basketball court are floodlit and evening sessions happen 4 nights a week
A disability group also use the Cruyff court twice a week
Pictures of the park and events
The park is now used for a number of events including a community day where the local area has a number of stalls and activities
Elthorne Park also held the first part of the Dutch Embassy Panna tour and the press launch was held at the Park
The Park has been used for a number of one off events.
Elthorne Park Now
The other uses of the park
What next for Elthorne Park?
We secured funding from the London Marathon Foundation for £43,000 to install a green gym in the park behind the basketball and football pitches.
We have started walks for older people’s groups around the local area and part of this leads them into the park. This shows off the redevelopment that has been carried out, which in turn makes people feel safe in the park.
Elthorne Park has been a massive success
Large amount of use at all hours of the day
Used by all sectors of the community
Used for educational needs as well as recreational
People in the local community are proud of The Cruyff Court
Awards and Commendations
Municipal Journal awards ( This is from all the councils in the UK)
2 nd place in the More People, More Active More Often Achievement for the work carried out with the refurbishment and the designing of long term projects designed to kerb anti-social behaviour and getting young people active
Highly commended in the Kickz Awards 2008 for Partner awards
Winners of 2009 Kickz Award for Partnership Contribution for ongoing work to Elthorne Park and the Kickz Programme
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