UK’s first ever Community Wallball Court Opened in Southwark
UK Wallball, the Jack Petchey Foundation and Bankside Open Spaces Trust pioneer urban sport in the UK with jaw dropping Wallball Court near Borough Market
On April 7th 2021 the UK saw its first ever community Wallball court open in Marlborough Sport Gardens in Southwark. This facility not only gives the community an opportunity to get active and play Wallball, but also pioneers the way forward for Urban Activity across the UK.
With its colourful street-art inspired design, the wall stands proud in its surroundings with a mural that encourages local people to get stuck in and active. Next to the court, there is a plaque with a QR code to an instructional video and a vending machine full of balls on site. Everything you need to get going with Wallball.
Wallball is a sport designed for inner-cities and is played by hitting a ball against a wall with your hand. It’s incredibly simple, accessible and, crucially, cheap. All you need is a wall and a ball.
UK Wallball is an award winning National Governing Body run by NHS doctor and clinical entrepreneur, Daniel Grant. The organisation is making waves at the moment, innovating new ways to get people from all backgrounds active. Involvement in UK Wallball is growing fast in schools and leisure centres with help from like-minded funded supporters like the Jack Petchey Foundation, as well as working with stroke survivors, where the skills of Wallball have been reworked specifically for neuro-rehabilitation.
The court, which can be found in Marlborough Sport Gardens in Southwark, marks the first full-size community Wallball court in the UK. This free-to-access sport facility has been created in partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust; a charity which helps enhance the park areas for the local community.
For UK Wallball this also marks the first step in emulating the New York model; a city similar to London, which now has over 2,500 community Wallball courts – all free to access to anyone across the city – though none quite so colourful as this one.
The court is also trailblazing the way forward for the emerging field of Urban Activity, which is high on the agendas of both Sport England and the NHS as these organisations realise the importance of easing access to sport in increasingly built up and grey environments. A cause which UK Wallball’s Director, Dr Daniel Grant cares about passionately:
“This court is incredibly exciting for us. Any player is going to have a brilliant time playing and with everything we’ve installed here you don’t even need a coach. You can literally teach yourself by watching a video and grabbing a ball from the vending machine. Wallball’s greatest strength is its simplicity and that is playing out in full here. Behind the scenes, by breaking down barriers to getting active, initiatives like this will help to improve both the physical and mental health of anyone who engages, either as players on the court or as artists, BBQ chefs, DJs and volunteers off it.”
Gemma Dunbar, Head of Programme Development at the Jack Petchey Foundation said: “We love the way that any young person can turn up, learn a new game with their friends, meet new people, get active, burn off steam, enjoy the outdoors safely and be healthy and have fun. Wallball is a fantastic sport!”
Helena, an eleven year old local girl who attended the opening said: “I got a ball from the machine so I can play with my friends. It’s awesome!”