Brave Schoolgirl McAyla Kicks Starts Arena Construction

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Schoolgirl and Pride of Britain Award winner McAyla Johnston helped kick-start the laying of foundations at the state-of-the-art new Worcester Arena.

Construction is now underway on the £15m facility, which, from the very first day of opening, will become a national centre of excellence for disability sport, designed to be fully inclusive and building on the work of the University across a host of disability sports, including wheelchair basketball and blind football.

Fourteen-year-old McAyla, who plays for the Worcester Wolves’ wheelchair basketball squad and will be among those using the Arena, joined Mick Donovan, Head of the University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, and Worcester MP Robin Walker to formally kick-start the works.

“I’m very excited and cannot wait for it to be built,” she said. “It will bring a whole new generation of kids and adults to come and play.

“It’s a good thing for Worcester to have this because it’s giving able and disabled people the chance to use it.”

The Arena will open in early 2013. The construction will provide employment for over 250 and 300 trades people, many of whom will be local to Worcester. Once open, the University is aiming to generate a multi-million pound turnover at the Arena creating dozens of new part-time and full-time jobs.

The 5,300 m2 Arena is capable of hosting major indoor sports events, with retractable seating provided for 2,000 people and excellent television infrastructure. It will provide important sports teaching facilities to complement the facilities already at the University’s St John’s Campus as well as those within the adjacent Riverside building.

Located midway between the University’s St John’s Campus and City Campus, the Arena will have good pedestrian and cycle links which are to be enhanced with further improvements to the road junction and crossing arrangements.

There will be excellent coach drop-off facilities and cycle parking and discussions are underway to improve bus links along the Hylton Road. Car parking will be available on the University’s immediately adjacent Riverside site.

The University will be creating a special wall to celebrate the Worcester Arena and the community’s passion for sport. Members of the community, businesses, sports clubs and other organisations are invited to buy a brick to ensure their name or company name and message is forever part of the Worcester Arena and marking their commitment to grass roots sport, the City, County and region.

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