At a walk-about meeting today (Wednesday 26th September) at the outdoor basketball/football kickabout space in Leyton Manor Park, Carl Miller (pictured) the legendary basketball athlete, explained vividly that kids need to have backing to get the most out of themselves and the facilities already available to them. This was echoed by two young basketball players present – Luke and Ash from Clapton. They told Richard Arnold and Dalin Vann of ODA that a park with open access, as Leyton Manor Park has, does not guarantee any security to young people and so effectively is a barrier to participation. The evidence was there for all at the meeting – who also included also Liza Sumpter of LB Waltham Forest, Claire Weiss (pictured) and Len Weiss (photographs) local residents and supporters of Save Leyton Marsh, and Hayley assistant to Carl – to see: the park which is located directly opposite a large area of social housing in the most deprived area of Leyton, was empty on a sunny afternoon at 4-0pm.
Lisa Sumpter of LB Waltham Forest was asked to draw up some outline ideas for both physical improvements to the court – such as a safe surface – and some kind of local development programme for the sport.
In answer to Claire’s questions, Richard Arnold confirmed that he understood the kind of needs arising in this area of Leyton, and that the ODA was ready to listen to proposals with a view to identifying legacy resources, perhaps linking these with funds from other bodies.
Claire thanked everyone for a creative and positive meeting, and for everyone’s time and enthusiastic contributions, especially those of Luke, Ash and Carl.