Making Parr!

A sports and community hub in St Helens has been supported by the Steve Morgan Foundation with a new Smiley Bus in addition to funding to regenerate its two MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) pitches.

The Parr Sports Community Centre, which set out primarily as a boxing club, now delivers a wide range of sport, social and educational activities and serves as a thriving community hub for local people, particularly youngsters.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has provided a grant of £30,240 towards the renovation of the MUGA pitches to improve the provision of activities offered, as well as now, the 73th Smiley Bus in the fleet, to help the organisation take club members to various external activities.

“Run by a group of dedicated volunteers, Parr Sports Community Centre has undertaken an ambitious renovation programme to help create a healthier community,” said Lindsey De Bartolo, Enable Funding Officer with the Steve Morgan Foundation

“They organise a range of activities including boxing and coaching for all ages, sports on the MUGA courts, physical exercise sessions for adults and children with disabilities, education for the whole community and NEET (Not in education, employment or training) youngsters, as well as a community café and meeting rooms.

“Their previous minibus was 19 years old, and could not be repaired, so the new Smiley Bus will be able to transport people to various other activities in the local area.

“The trustees at Parr Sports Community Centre have some great plans in place and have also made some good partnerships with community groups, sporting groups and other charities to make their centre into a thriving self-sufficient community space.”

With 600 members, the average footfall is 2,000 people every week, making the renovation of the MUGA courts even more important.

“Originally a boxing club, the charity set its sights in playing a wider role in the community through the delivery of additional sport, social and educational activities,” added Jane Harris, Director of Regional Grants with the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“The charity’s aims are to provide a community hub for social and sporting activities which will help improve the health and wellbeing of local families as well as diverting local people away from falling into a spiral of anti-social behaviour.”

Jonathan Masters, trustee with the Steve Morgan Foundation, visited the Centre to officially hand over the Smiley Bus, which was well received by the charity’s secretary, Stephen Cox.

Stephen said:  “The vision for the Centre is to play a role in the wider community, bringing people together, improving their health and wellbeing, providing positive, diversionary activities for young people, social activities for older and isolated people and raising the aspirations and employability of the community through training provision and volunteering.

“This is possible with the help we have been given from the Steve Morgan Foundation.”

*The Parr Sports Community Centre is among the nominees announced earlier this week for the Entrepreneur Awards. Click here to read the story and the link to vote in all four categories –

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