Lea Rowing Club receives £400,000 Lottery investment to improve facilities

Lea Rowing Club, based at Spring Hill Park in Clapton, is set to offer better, expanded services to the community in Hackney and surrounding boroughs thanks to £400,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Improvement Fund.

After an intensive fundraising programme the construction of a new boathouse building on the Lea Rowing Club site, set on the edge of the Olympic village in East London, can now get underway. The new facility is scheduled to open its doors before Christmas of 2015 and will allow the club to expand its services, offer more places for junior, schools and adult rowing programmes.

Hackney may not seem like the place you would expect to find a rowing club, but the club has a long and proud history with many wins at Henley Royal and Henley Women’s Regattas and the National Rowing Championships. They have also recently seen junior and women’s athletes selected for GB and Welsh national squads.

David Carruthers, Lea Club President said “This project is crucial to ongoing success and growth of Lea Rowing Club and guarantees the future of the sport of rowing in east London, which has been going on for more than 150 years. We are delighted with the support from Sport England and look forward to working with them on this great project”.

A key aspect of the project is a new Community Use Agreement between Lea Rowing Club and London Borough of Hackney that will see the club increase capacity and services for local residents and schools and offer facilities to partner sports clubs in the area.

Alan Meegan, head of facilities for British Rowing, said “Lea Rowing Club is a successful, thriving and vibrant club that is as important to us as it is to the local community. We congratulate the club on its success in raising money for this development and we will continue to support them in delivering first class rowing tuition and services at the Lea”.

Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “Sports facilities are a vital part of grassroots sport and we know people have a better experience of sport when they can play in good quality facilities. The investment being made into the Spring Hill Boathouse at Lea Rowing Club through our Improvement Fund will make a big difference to community sport in Hackney and the surrounding boroughs and will ensure people and teams have a place to get active and enjoy sport all year round.”

Through the Improvement Fund, Sport England will invest £45 million of Lottery funding into medium-size projects to improve grassroots sports facilities that are sustainable and with a clear local need. So far, £37.8m has been invested to overhaul 38 artificial grass pitches and swimming pool changing rooms, and help 28 sports facilities become more environmentally sustainable. It has also supported 39 projects that are impacting on the number of 14- to 25-year-olds taking part in sport by meeting their changing demands whilst delivering an improved sporting experience.

Lea Rowing Club is one of 12 projects across England to share in £4.3 million of National Lottery investment from the latest round of funding, which focuses mainly on improving artificial grass pitches (AGPs) – used for a wide range of sports including hockey, football and rugby. Ten of the twelve projects will either build new, or replace existing, AGPs, improving the quality of the playing surfaces. The other projects also include a new gymnastics centre.

Anyone interested in trying rowing at Lea Rowing Club should contact secretary@learc.org.uk for information about their biannual ‘Learn2row’ course for beginners. For information about the schools programme at Lea Rowing Club contact schools@learc.org.uk.

26th March 2015

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