POMPEY legend Steve Claridge joined dozens of dignitaries to mark a milestone for youth sport.
It has been 10 years since Barclays and the Football Foundation joined forces to fund outdoor sports pitches and courts at Bransbury Park in Milton, Portsmouth.
They opened in 2007, paving the way for dozens of youth programmes which thousands of children continue to take part in each year.
Mr Claridge, 48, who is now a football pundit for the BBC, said Bransbury Park had become a ‘massively significant place’ for the community.
He said: ‘People don’t understand that Portsmouth is one of the most built-up areas in England.
‘Outside of central London it has got fewer green spaces than any other major city, so it gives you an indication of how needed these sorts of places are.
‘It’s fantastic what people can achieve when they get together with a goal.’
Bransbury Park is among 200 projects funded by the Spaces for Sport programme over the past decade.
Barclays spent £300,000 on the park and the Football Foundation added another £300,000. The money paid for improvements including five-a-side pitches, full-sized football pitches, netball courts, tennis courts and a basketball practice area and skateboard ramps.
Pompey in the Community chief executive Clare Martin said she was delighted the sports programmes taking place at the park had remained popular.
She said: ‘We’ve now got as many young people as we ever had coming along, taking part and earning qualifications.’
Ward councillor and Portsmouth City Council’s Lib Dem group leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the facilities had contributed to a 70 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour in the area and a 20 per cent drop in crime.
He said: ‘Giving youngsters something to do has been an important factor in that. Before this, there were very few youth facilities on this side of the island. It has had a phenomenal effect.’
Kira Vallely, 14, of Milton, has been involved in sports at Bransbury Park for six years, both playing and volunteering to coach younger children.
She said: ‘It’s great here. We get to help the younger ones as well as improve ourselves.’