A SPECIALIST indoor sports rink has moved one step nearer to completion.
Solent Arena yesterday took delivery of the first parts for its state-of-the-art centre in Standard Way, Fareham, which will host sports such as roller hockey, box lacrosse, inline sledge hockey and a range of wheelchair sports.
The rink has been set up by Salmiakki Sports, a not-for-profit company, which raised £25,000 towards the project. Fareham Borough Council split the costs and contributed £21,500.
There are only five other regulation size rinks, 20m by 40m, in the UK. The nearest is at the Lord Roberts Centre, in Bisley, Surrey.
Setti Mulari, chairman of Salmiakki Sports, also plays for Fareham Wildcats roller hockey team, which will use the rink.
Welcoming in the first parts yesterday, he said: ‘We wanted to do this because there are no specialist roller sports facilities anywhere on the south coast. This is going to be the first one and hopefully we can grow the sport and grow interest and build a couple more in the years to come.’
He added: ‘We started this project in July last year. It’s been over a year coming and we are looking forward to opening in the next couple of weeks. The equipment is here we just need to build it. It feels amazing to have got this far. I just can’t wait to get my skates on and get skating.’
Helen Haskings, a lecturer from Eastleigh College, was there at the delivery. Students from the college will be spending time at the rink, gaining valuable hands on experience.
She said; ‘It is an exciting project and Eastleigh College is excited to be involved in this project which will be such a positive thing for the whole community.’
Sam Bonathan, from Farnborough, was also helping with the delivery. She will be running the hockey range and skate station shop which will open at the centre. She said: ‘It is awesome. It’s been a long wait for a skate specific building. It will be great for the area.’
Member for leisure, councillor Connie Hockley said: ‘This is going to be a first for Fareham. It is important, it’s an activity which will get youngsters off the street. It’s very physical. Setti was on a mission and I am so proud of him. I want to wish them all congratulations. I am sure it is going to be a big hit.’
It is hoped that the centre in will be open in the next couple of weeks.
Setti said: ‘As long as we have the rink and lights, we can play.’
For more information go to solent-arena.co.uk