CHANGING rooms and health consultation rooms are to be built as the final stage of a community development in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth City Council will build the £165,000 facility in Bransbury Park, Eastney.
It will contain two changing rooms, toilets and two health consulting rooms, where members of the Respect youth group will be able to receive medical check-ups.
The council’s leader for sport and leisure, Cllr Lee Hunt, said: ‘It’s the final piece in the jigsaw of what we’ve been doing down at Bransbury Park, and we’re very happy to be able to say the project will be complete in the near future. It’s a symbol of the way we hope to engage with the younger people and help them get interested in sport, as well as offering them easy ways to improve their health.’
The centre will be built using cash from the council and the city’s Primary Care Trust.
In his report on the proposals, the council’s head of cultural services Stephen Baily wrote: ‘The current changing facilities are inadequate for the number of people using the site which can be in excess of 200 people in one night.’
Work at the park, on Bransbury Road, started in 2007, when the Barclays Spaces for Sport program gave a grant of £600,000, and the council added £82,875.
It was used to improve outdoor sports facilities, which include five-a-side pitches, full-sized football pitches, netball courts, tennis courts, a basketball practice area and skateboard ramps.
The improvements allowed the city’s Respect programme, which works to engage youngsters who may otherwise be at risk of committing or being victims of crime, to use the park as its base.
The programme is believed to have helped reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the surrounding area by 26 per cent.
Cllr Hunt said: ‘It has taken a long time to complete everything, because we had to make sure the funding streams were all in place. But we’re very pleased to be here now. The facility’s health element makes it even more attractive to all parts of the community, and we and the PCT are very happy the city’s young people and older people will have a relaxed place to talk about health, as well as everyone having the new changing rooms.’
NHS Portsmouth donated £40,000 to the project, but won’t be involved in the day-to-day running of the health rooms.
Its acting associate director of public health, Simon Bryant, said: ‘We have given the one-off £40,000 grant. We won’t be running the rooms, but we think they’ll be used as drop-in facilities for health services – one for young people and one for sexual health services.’