Over 80 local children tried their hand at white water rafting, as well as kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and Water Wipeout at Lee Valley White Water Centre’s sponsored Halloween Fun Day on Thursday (27 October).
The young people and families came from the Broxbourne area, including Cheshunt, Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross, with many from the Holdbrook Estate, immediately opposite the centre.
The special event, which was jointly organised by Lee Valley White Water Centre, B3Living and Broxbourne Borough Council, was particularly aimed at families and children that do not have the opportunity to engage in regular sport or fun activities in the daytime.
Children aged eight and over had a go at Water Wipeout, Kayaking, and Stand up paddle boarding, while for the older ones aged 10 and over and their parents, there was a chance to try white water rafting on the centre’s Legacy Loop.
Meantime, little ones had plenty to occupy them with face painting and arts and crafts activities.
“We are keen to nurture the legacy of the 2012 Olympics here,” explained Paskell Blackwell, Lee Valley White Water Centre’s General Manager. “Through events such as these, we try to give families and those children that do not do regular sport or fun activities in the daytime an opportunity to have a go at some different water sports. It’s great to see new faces at the centre, as well as families who have taken part year after year in this exciting day.
“We have found that joint fun days like this with B3Living and Broxbourne Council have helped to attract youngsters to the centre and to taking up these sports - and in some cases to go on to excel in their field, even to championship standard.”
One of the parents of the dozens of youngsters taking part, Stacey Field from Cheshunt, said: “A group of eleven of us, family, friends and neighbours have come down for this special event which has been such great fun. My sons Tayden (10) and Logan (9) both had a go at the water sports and even my partner Anthony Wright tried the rafting! This event gives local people an opportunity to try sports they can’t normally do and is such a good day out.”
Sophie Phillips, B3Living’s Community Engagement Coordinator, added: “This completely free event has enabled families to experience some incredible water activities, with the hope of sparking an interest in them later returning to the centre. Whether they return to enjoy the grounds with a picnic, take up a new sport within the clubs that run from centre, or come to watch world class athletes compete, it helps to embed the centre into the heart of the Broxbourne community. We have seen incredible outcomes from the project, including young people going on to become British Youth Champions, adults becoming inspired to work for the centre and children experiencing a day that they won’t forget."
B3Living is the largest independent social housing provider in the Broxbourne Borough, with over 4500 homes in Hertfordshire and Essex. Its link with Lee Valley White Water Centre began straight after the 2012 Games-a legacy of the Games-enabling the local community to try out sports at the centre that they would not normally have access to.
They also run a number of activities that are open to the whole community, such as fun day events run twice a year.
Lee Valley White Water Centre is a world leading venue which boasts the 300m long Olympic course, where Team GB won gold and silver in the London 2012 canoe slalom event. It is located within Lee Valley Regional Park and in close proximity to London. Address: Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN9 1AB. To find out more, go to: www.gowhitewater.co.uk or call 03000 030 616.
For more about all activities in the Lee Valley go to: www.visitleevalley.org.uk