Blakedown Sport and Play – winner of the SAPCA Award for Large Sports or Play Project of the Year

Blakedown Sport and Play won the SAPCA Award 2024 for Large Sports or Play project for its work at Shoreditch Park. The £1.89m redevelopment project rejuvenated an existing park and focused on improving not just opportunities for sport and play, but the overall environment and sustainability.

The London Borough of Hackney, which owns Shoreditch Park, wanted to create a community asset which would foster openness and enclosure and create a heart to the community. The brief also included stitching together the existing zones, connecting the park to the surrounding developments and developing a safe and welcoming space.

After being appointed for the project, Blakedown Sport and Play delivered on the brief by refurbishing Shoreditch Park’s existing natural sports pitch, which is used for informal football matches and recreation users. It also created a new, dedicated sports hub with a multi-use games area (MUGA).

Alongside the refurbished natural pitch and MUGA, the project also included a perimeter running route, outdoor gym, beach volleyball court and children’s play areas.

There were also ecological enhancements, new seating, entrances, pavements, informal play trails, a tree plaza, new bins, improved signage and newly planted trees, hedges, shrubs, climbers, perennials and grass.

The community remained at the forefront of the project’s design and played a key part in its success. For example, the new MUGA was designed in partnership with local children, who were consulted on the designs and the colour choices for both the MUGA and the outdoor gym.

Local school children also helped to design the new play area, with suggestions such as a slide and a rooftop space to relax. The play area is accessible to children with disabilities.

The Shoreditch Park refurbishment project is a great example of what can be achieved with a holistic approach to sport, physical activity, and health and wellbeing in public parks.

Since its opening, it has presented a multitude of social and health advantages. The space now serves as integral components of community life, fostering connections among residents and promoting a sense of unity. By design, the project offers communal grounds where people of diverse backgrounds converge, cultivating a shared experience that contributes significantly to social cohesion.

Beyond the social implications, it plays a vital role in providing cultural and recreational opportunities. The natural playing field is a versatile space that will offer the opportunity for informal play, hosting events, festivals, and recreational activities if the council wishes.

The provision of designated areas for play, exercise, and leisure in the form of playgrounds, open gyms, volleyball and the MUGA further elevates the quality of life for residents. Such spaces cater to a spectrum of age groups and abilities, fostering inclusivity and serving as platforms for shared experiences that transcend societal boundaries.

Catherine Hay, Projects Manager Hackney Council, said: “A fantastic outcome, the park has really come to life!

“Thank you to the Blakedown Team for delivering a high quality project with new facilities and planting that will benefit the whole community for years to come.”

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Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd

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