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Cycle Sisters on the Road Circuit at Lee Valley VeloPark

Lee Valley announces £120,000 for community development

Release date: 

17 April 2024

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is increasing its support for community groups and schools with £120,000 for communities across London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

This includes a boosted Community Access Fund for 2024, which will allow the Authority to work with significantly more groups, breaking down barriers by covering the cost of transport to the park or paying for access and activities.

Since the launch of the Community Access Fund in 2015 hundreds of community groups have enjoyed experiences throughout the park’s inspirational sports venues and stunning open spaces with the support of highly trained coaches and instructors.

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is now inviting not-for profit, registered charity, voluntary, school and community groups across London, Essex or Hertfordshire to get in touch and see how they could benefit from this year’s boosted Community Access Fund.

There are activities in our world class sports venues from white water sports to cycling, ice skating, athletics, horse riding, hockey and tennis or exploring our open spaces through guided walks, team building days, woodland crafts and mindfulness in the outdoors.

Groups looking to engage in longer term projects and initiatives that increase physical activity and achieve wider social benefits are encouraged to apply for Lee Valley’s Active Communities Grant Scheme. This scheme is designed to support organisations working with people and communities that are marginalised from society at a local level – whether that be a result of social, economic, or cultural reasons – and supports longer programmes that can drive change, encouraging ongoing physical activity across the park’s sports venues and 10,000 acres of green space.

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said, “We know how vitally important it is for all communities to have access to open space, sports and leisure opportunities. This year we are reaffirming our commitment to breaking down barriers for communities by increasing our funding for those people who, for reasons of cost or circumstance, may not otherwise be able to visit Lee Valley Regional Park and take advantage of the fabulously diverse opportunities it offers.

“This significant investment forms part of a milestone year for the Authority, with the 10th anniversary of two of our London 2012 legacy venues – Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Over the past decade these two thriving venues, along with Lee Valley White Water Centre, have transformed sporting opportunities across the region including funded programmes for 24,000 people from disadvantaged groups. Our ongoing funding for community activity remains at the heart of our commitment to deliver an enduring legacy from London 2012.”

Lee Valley Regional Park stretches 26 miles from East India Dock Basin on the Thames, through east and north London to Ware in Hertfordshire and offers a range of activities from cycling and white water sports to ice skating, horse riding, hockey, tennis and camping, alongside award winning nature reserves, green spaces and heritage sites, attracting around eight million visits a year.

For more information on the huge range of experiences available in Lee Valley Regional Park, funding criteria for the Community Access Fund and Active Communities Grant Scheme and details of how to apply please visit Community grants | Leevalley (

For more information, hi-res imagery or to request interviews, please contact:

Jackie Tolland, Senior Communications Officer

M: 07785 303 718 E:

Notes to Editors

About Lee Valley Regional Park:

Lee Valley Regional Park stretches 26 miles along the River Lee from Ware in Hertfordshire to East India Dock Basin on the Thames and offers a range of great activities, days out and attractions from cycling and white water sports to ice skating, horse riding, hockey, tennis and camping, alongside award winning nature reserves, green spaces, heritage sites and riverside trails, attracting around eight million visits a year.

  • The park was created by a unique Act of Parliament as a “green lung” for London, Essex and Hertfordshire and features 10,000 acres comprised of a diverse mix of heritage sites, nature reserves and open green spaces alongside world class sports venues, attracting over 10 million visitors every year.

  • Just over 50 years ago much of the area around the River Lee was derelict, neglected and unloved, home to redundant industry, sewage works, gravel pits, rubbish dumps and railway sidings. Over the last five decades Lee Valley Regional Park Authority has, with partners, led the almost wholesale transformation of the 10,000 acre, 26 mile long area.

  • Our open spaces include eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a designation reserved for the most important areas for nature across the UK. Four of these form the Lee Valley Special Protection Area, the designation for sites in Europe with habitats that are important for migratory birds. They also form a Ramsar site, an area which has been globally recognised as an internationally important wetland.

  • Nine of Lee Valley Regional Park’s open spaces, gardens and heritage sites retained the prestigious Green Flag Award in 2023. A tenth Green Flag was awarded to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is jointly managed by The London Legacy Development Corporation and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. This internationally recognised award signifies quality open spaces. Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield also retained the coveted Green Heritage Site Accreditation, in recognition of the Authority’s successful management of this historic venue.

  • In further recognition of the Authority’s dedication to providing high quality open spaces, eight sites across Lee Valley Regional Park were awarded the highest Gold accolade from the prestigious London in Bloom Awards in 2023. This included a special Best Biodiversity and Environmental Innovation award for the newly constructed Lee Valley Ice Centre in East London, a cutting edge facility aspiring to become the most sustainable ice venue in the UK.

  • Lee Valley Regional Park Authority owns three London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues: Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire which hosted the Canoe Slalom event during London 2012 and Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

  • Authority’s sporting offer also includes the world class Lee Valley Athletics Centre, British Horse Society-approved Lee Valley Riding Centre and the newly constructed Olympic standard twin rink Lee Valley Ice Centre, the only venue of its kind in the south east.

  • Three of Lee Valley’s sports venues were awarded an ‘Excellent’ Quest rating in 2023, with Lee Valley White Water Centre receiving the coveted ‘Outstanding’ rating, having achieved excellence in all criteria - the venue is one of only two centres in the country to hold this accreditation. Quest, the Sport England recommended Continuous Improvement Tool for leisure facilities, recognises quality facilities and the highest standard of customer service. Lee Valley Athletics Centre secured a ‘Very Good’ rating in 2023, and the new Lee Valley Ice Centre will be eligible for its first assessment in 2024.

  • Other recreational activities at Lee Valley Regional Park include cycling, angling, walking and bird watching. Historical sites such as Myddelton House Gardens, Waltham Abbey Gardens, Rye House Gatehouse and Three Mills Green can be found throughout the park.

  • The Authority's Learning and Engagement service offers a range of outdoor learning programmes for Primary, Secondary, SEN schools and community groups, delivered by a team of experienced and trained staff and coaches. In 2023 the service retained the nationally recognised Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, demonstrating the quality of learning and effectiveness of risk management.

  • Lee Valley Regional Park Authority offers a range of volunteering opportunities from individual roles to corporate volunteering and collaboration with clubs, groups and organisations. The Authority has held an Investing in Volunteers award for the past 15 years, the national standard for organisations who maintain quality volunteer management and procedure regimes.

  • Lee Valley Regional Park offers four camping and caravan sites at a variety of scenic locations: Dobbs Weir in Hertfordshire, Sewardstone in north east London and Edmonton in north London and the bushcraft inspired Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite in Broxbourne.

03000 030 610

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