More than 50 local people joined players from the Manchester Giants to officially open the new basketball facility at South Park, Cheadle Hulme.

Ward Councillors, together with the Friends of South Park and the Stockport & District Model Engineering Club, watched recent Giants’ signings from America, Austin Rettig and David Kadiri show off their skills during an impromptu training session – they also helped hand out free balls provided by Basketball England.

This event marked the start of a project led by Basketball England aimed at increasing grass root participation in the sport.

Stockport Council’s Greenspace Team, with the support of Basketball England, successfully bid for a £17,500 grant from Sport England to refurbish the old court in South Park.

An innovative design with back-to-back adult and junior nets means that all ages will now have the opportunity to practice basketball. The refurbished court sits adjacent to the popular skate ramp that was unveiled last year. The two facilities together create a unique urban sports zone.

A vital part of the scheme is to make it easy to access equipment, particularly a local supply of basketballs. Manchester Rugby Club, next door to South Park on Grove Lane, will be our local partner and where young people will be able to borrow a basketball for free and play on the court just next door in the park.

Councillor Sheila Bailey, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “The new basketball court is a welcome addition to the Cheadle Hulme area and it will help plug a gap in the sport’s provision in south Manchester. We hope that local residents will take advantage of this new facility and get involved in sports at every level.”

Natalie Hughes, Chair Friends of South Park, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Basketball England selected South Park for the wonderful addition of a brand new basketball court. Sadly over the years the park hasn’t had the investment that was required to keep it the community hub it once was, but with our recent fundraising and the investment from Sport England and Stockport Council, we have been able to give the park a new lease of life. I’m sure the local community will really appreciate the new facilities that are now on their doorstep!”

Peter Griffiths, Basketball England’s Senior Delivery Manager, said: “We’re really pleased with the new basketball area at South Park. The new surfacing and baskets provide a much-improved playing experience for local players. The provision of baskets at different heights allows people of all ages to be involved in the game and the chance to borrow a basketball from adjacent Rugby club means giving basketball a go is accessible to all.”