Why it is important that the community playing fields are retained

The proposed mid-September meeting between the Foundation and the representatives of the new owners of Udney Park has been postponed so there is no real progress to report. Concerns have become heightened that another commercial venture is envisaged as it the BVI-registered company that apparently owns Udney Park changed its name from Rich Creation to Leisure Focus in July 2022. The company is owned by a Mr Wu from the Peoples Republic of China and as things stand his intentions remain opaque.

It is perhaps worth reminding everyone why retaining the community playing fields at Udney Park is so important.

Following the success of the Lionesses at the European championships there was to have been a parliamentary debate in mid-September led by our local MP, Munira Wilson, on the participation of girls and young women in sport. Unfortunately, this cancelled due to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Munira had asked for some testimonials from the Thamesians women’s team to reference in the debate and I am including five of these below as they are all powerful statements on the positive impact of the playing of women’s rugby has had at Thamesians.

Statement 1

‘Rugby and especially Thamesians has had such a positive impact on my life. It keeps me fit and active whilst also being so much fun. I feel very lucky to have found my team and the incredible people I play with’

Statement 2

‘Sport has given me a reason to be healthy. It’s given me a goal to work towards and a massive group of women who are all so different but all support and encourage each other to do their best’

Statement 3

‘I’m 25 years old and have been playing rugby since I was 19. I’m 6ft1 and 85kg, and for the first 19 years of my life I hated the way I looked, felt, and I had no confidence and no motivation. I found rugby as a way of making some new friends and enjoying a run around while doing so. To say it changed my life is an understatement. Women’s sport is special, because it brings a group of people who face similar challenges in day-to-day life together, and provides a safe space, a place of encouragement and love, and lights a fire within people who didn’t realise they had it. Being around women who were praised for having different body types has skyrocketed my confidence. I feel empowered in my life outside of sport, knowing the things I’ve accomplished and my worth. I’ve also made a special group of friends for life, some incredible memories (minus a few injuries), and I cannot express how grateful I am for it.’

Statement 4

‘Having relocated to London for work age 24, and not knowing a soul, sport and in particular rugby had a huge positive impact in creating a new community and support network. I had not played rugby before but found a welcoming bunch of women of all ages, sizes, demographics, and skill sets; and felt instantly at ease. I have continued to play for the past 6 years and created true friends in which I social with outside of sport and consider to be my family away from home. I would highly recommend young women to participate in sport, not only for the mental and physical benefits, but for the skill set it creates for life.’ 

Statement 5

‘As an adult, I was dragged out of my old comfort zone and into a new one. Rugby! Rugby gave me amazing friends and a much healthier lifestyle. I found things I love doing at the gym, a great use for my overactive brain and that challenge and ambition come in different forms - if it’s a positive opportunity I try to always say yes. I’ve developed my communication and leadership skills, learnt to appreciate my opinion and that it’s a valid one, and that empowering those in your world is a great way to give back.’

Thamesians have now had to move playing fields three times in five years as previous facilities have fallen out of use. As such they are typical of the type of club that the Foundation represents.

Other recent news

Foundation submit bid to Mr Wu and support in Parliament

Foundation submit bid to Mr Wu and support in Parliament

Posted on 6th Feb 2024

I have now attended two positive meetings with Mr Wu’s representatives, together with my fellow trustee, Philip Barnes. The most recent meeting was the week before last. An offer to purchase the fields has been submitted. More information has been requested. The Foundation is providing an executive summary as to why the land should be sold, in order that Mr Wu’s representatives can go back with to Mr Wu with a recommendation. This submission will go in this week.

The second meeting was also attended by our local MP, Munira Wilson, who made several robust statements in support of the bid. Munira left all attendees in no doubt as to her position. Her position has also been set out in Parliament on more than one occasion, most recently as link below.


Discussions on purchase of fields due to commence

Discussions on purchase of fields due to commence

Posted on 27th Sep 2023

The ACV for the sale for Udney Park playing fields was finally triggered on 15th September 2023, when the owners formally confirmed to LBRUT that they intended to sell the fields. A moratorium of six months now commences during which time the fields can only be sold to a Community Interest Company (CIC).

Foundation to submit bid AND receives a mention in parliament.

Foundation to submit bid AND receives a mention in parliament.

Posted on 14th Jul 2023

Confirmation of the sale of Udney Park playing fields was confirmed in the local press igniting hopes that the fields can be returned to community use https://teddingtontown.co.uk/2023/07/06/teddingtons-udney-park-playing-fields-back-on-the-market/

The Foundation have contacted the representatives of Mr Wu in order to put in motion an offer for the purchase of the playing fields. The site is designated as an ACV, and is currently under a moratorium which prevents the sale of the land to anyone other than a Community Interest Company (CIC) for a six month period.