Website URL : http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=12241

Fun and games to launch new sport complex in Bicester

Football, cricket, rugby, cycling and Nordic walking are among the sports Bicester's residents can sample at Whitelands Farm Sports Ground official opening.

On Saturday, 30 September Parkwood Leisure in partnership with Cherwell District Council, Bicester Town Council and Healthy Bicester are launching the new sports ground with a fun, action-packed day of free activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

The new facility, which occupies a site of over 17 hectares, includes grass space for three football pitches, two rugby pitches, a cricket pitch, and an artificial 3G sports pitch. It will also offer outdoor gym equipment and cycling circuit, a substantial changing room pavilion including a café and a 150 capacity function room available for the community to hire for meetings and events.

Cllr George Reynolds, Cherwell's deputy leader, said: "Whitelands Farm Sports Ground with its pitches, outdoor gym, cycling/walking circuit and changing/function pavilion, is an excellent addition to Bicester's sports facilities.

"We are working to offer more pitches in the area to help meet the demand from local clubs. Also, we hope that this new sports complex will further encourage people of all ages to take part in physical activity and get more active.

"Bicester has been awarded the Healthy New Town status because we are committed to making  residents' health and the focal point of the town's growth and we hope that with this new facility on hand, residents will take the opportunity to learn something new and get fit at the same time."

The official opening event kicks off at 11am at Whitelands Farm Sports Ground in Whitelands Way. A whole host of activities will be available throughout the day until 3pm  including a bouncy castle, stalls, games as well as sports and fitness taster sessions.

The new £4 million sports facility has been provided by Cherwell District Council for the benefit of Bicester residents.  Part of the funding for the facilities has been secured as a result of financial contributions from the Kingsmere's developer Countryside Properties.

Parkwood Leisure, who currently manages other sports facilities within the district including Bicester Leisure Centre in partnership with Cherwell, will operate Whitelands Farm Sports Ground funded by Bicester Town Council.

Liyen Mathew, at Parkwood Leisure Trust and at their delivery partner Legacy Leisure, said: "Legacy is really excited about the opportunity for new community sports facility at Kingsmere. We are working closely with the council to ensure that the facility is attractive, has a varied programme relevant to the people of Bicester and its clubs and is financially sustainable in the long term."

Due to limited parking space, residents are encouraged to leave their car at home and come to the event on foot, by bike or public transport. Those who prove they arrived without a car by posting a picture on social media with the hashtag  #HealthyBicester, will receive a free goodie bag at the café / bar on the day.

For more information about the event follow Healthy Bicester on Facebook and Twitter and Whitelands Farm Sports Ground's Facebook page.

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