Raft on the Olympic course during the Games
The re-opening of Lee Valley White Water Centre on September 8, with the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza still underway also marks the start of a major phase of reconfiguration work which will further establish it as a popular sporting and community venue for London and the surrounding region. With funding from the Authority, the British Canoe Union (BCU) and other organisations, around £4 million of enhancement work will take place in late 2012 and 2013. This includes constructing a new pavilion, changing room and catering facilities, new viewing points to improve the experience for spectators and a permanent regional headquarters for the BCU. At the same time a wide range of programmes will be implemented aimed at clubs, schools and diverse communities to attract the widest possible groups to paddle sports.
The Authority is already committed to making the Lee Valley White Water Centre Schools Festival an annual event. Two have already been held in June and July 2011 and in March 2012, giving youngsters from every single London borough and across Hertfordshire and Essex the chance to white water raft for free. The centre has already brought paddle sports to a newer and wider audience. April’s three day selection event to finalise the makeup of the GB canoeing team was attended by 4,500 people from every single London borough and across the region. Surveys conducted at the venue also showed that many were attending a canoe sports event for the first time.
Since April 2011, when it became the only brand new London 2012 venue to open to the public, the centre has provided a unique pre Games legacy. It has attracted 155,000 visitors from all over the country, 33,000 of whom rafted and 7,000 who canoed or kayaked. It has generated £1.8 million in income and brought a range of economic benefits to the surrounding region. In 2015 the World Canoe Championships will be held there, demonstrating its commercial and sporting potential. This September’s opening will further help to establish a venue that will bring genuine benefits to the surrounding region and deliver an enduring legacy from the London 2012 Games. Tickets for the new season are available from www.gowhitewater.co.uk or from the Lee Valley White Water Centre booking and enquiry hotline on 08456 770 606.