THIS week, the UK will see its first-ever community Wallball court open in Marlborough Sport Gardens in Southwark. This facility not only gives the community an opportunity to get active and play Wallball but also pioneers the way forward for Urban Activity across the UK.
With its colourful street-art inspired design, the wall will stand proud in its surroundings with a mural design that encourages local people to get stuck in and active. Next to the court, there will be a poster with a QR code to an instructional video and a vending machine full of balls on site – everything you need to get going with Wallball.
Wallball is a sport designed for inner-cities and is played by hitting a ball against a wall with your hand. It’s incredibly simple, accessible and, crucially, cheap. All you need is a wall and a ball.
UK Wallball is an award-winning National Governing Body run by NHS Doctor and Clinical Entrepreneur Daniel Grant. The organisation is making waves at the moment, innovating new ways to get people from all backgrounds active. Involvement in UK Wallball is growing fast in schools and leisure centres with help from like-minded funded supporters like the Jack Petchey Foundation, as well as working with stroke survivors, where the skills of Wallball have been reworked specifically for neuro-rehabilitation.
The court, which can be found in Marlborough Sport Gardens in Southwark, will mark the first full-size community Wallball court in the UK. This free-to-access sports facility has been created in partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust, a charity that helps enhance the park areas for the local community.
For UK Wallball, this marks the first step in emulating the New York model, a city similar to London, which now has over 2,500 community Wallball courts – all free to access to anyone across the city – though none quite so colourful as this one.
The court is also trailblazing the way forward for the emerging field of Urban Activity, which is high on the agendas of both Sport England and the NHS as these organisations realise the importance of easing access to sport in an increasingly built up and grey environment.
A cause which UK Wallball’s Director, Dr Daniel Grant, cares about passionately, he said:
“This court is incredibly exciting for us. Any player is going to have a brilliant time playing, and with everything we’ve installed here, you don’t even need a coach. You can literally teach yourself by watching a video and grabbing a ball from the vending machine. Wallball’s greatest strength is its simplicity, and that is playing out in full here. Behind the scenes, by breaking down barriers to getting active, initiatives like this will help to improve both the physical and mental health of anyone who engages, either as players on the court or as artists, chefs, DJs and volunteers off it.”
Jack Harrison, Sports Development Manager at Marlborough Sport Garden, said:
“Young people are our key focus here at Marlborough Sport Garden. Our vision is to create an environment where children and young people find it easier to eat well, exercise more, develop a love for and proficiency in many sports, and establish healthy habits for life. With the introduction of the UK’s first-ever community Wallball court, we are one step closer to achieving our vision, and we’re so excited to open this facility to the local community.”