Praise for Foyle Arena and staff as facility opens

Steve Setterfield, Sports and Leisure Manager
Steve Setterfield, Sports and Leisure Manager

More than 1,000 members of the public are expected to visit the £12m Foyle Arena complex each day now that it has opened its doors to the public.

Hundreds of adults and children have spent the past few days viewing the facilities and enjoying taster sessions of what is on offer, including a myriad of sports, climbing and water-based activities.

The new Foyle Arena at St. Columb's Park pictured this week. DER1615MC060 (Photos: Jim McCafferty)

The new Foyle Arena at St. Columb's Park pictured this week. DER1615MC060 (Photos: Jim McCafferty)

Steve Setterfield, sports and leisure manager, said he was very proud of the work staff had put in approaching the opening.

“The staff have been absolutely buzzing about the whole experience. We have worked really hard in the last couple of weeks trying to get everything ready and getting everything in place.

“We have seen the building grow from a shell and as time has gone on we have added our own touches to it, so I am very proud of it and the staff and the staff are very proud of the facility.”

With more than 25 paying adults at the door waiting to get in on Monday afternoon and hundreds of schoolchildren from across the city and district enjoying free taster sessions, it was a very busy opening day for Mr Setterfield and his 17 full-time team of staff, who were on hand with a raft of coaches, to help visitors find their feet.

Some of the local sports coaches and schoolchildren pictured at the new Foyle Arena at St. Columb's Park on Wednesday afternoon. DER1615MC059

Some of the local sports coaches and schoolchildren pictured at the new Foyle Arena at St. Columb's Park on Wednesday afternoon. DER1615MC059

“Today we tried to get all the facility working, so that there was something happening in every single area. In the pool we had a mother and baby and an open splash event, while in the climbing suite we had climbers in and started doing inductions so we can register climbers who can come and go on the wall freely and gym inductions ran from 4pm.

“Everyone has their brief and their place to go and everyone is absolutely buzzing with excitement about the whole thing.”

Noel Munnis, leisure development manager said it was a “huge relief” to finally have the complex open and functioning.

“The last few weeks have been hectic to say the least,” he said.

LOOKING GLASS!. . .The view from the reception area at the new Foyle Arena this week as local schoolchildren were given the opportunity to try out the facilities. DER1615MC056

LOOKING GLASS!. . .The view from the reception area at the new Foyle Arena this week as local schoolchildren were given the opportunity to try out the facilities. DER1615MC056

“Now we are at the finishing stages, but it will take a few days for things to settle down. Then we can get into the business of making sure we are full all day every day.”

Unsure of how many people would view the facility or enrol, Mr Munnis said: “Once we are up and running, by the middle of next week, we will be expecting something in excess of a thousand of people every day through the doors.

“It is a very big leisure centre with a lot to do,” he said.

One of the journalists attempts a climb of 'Walltopia' at the new Foyle Arena on Wednesday. DER1615MC055

One of the journalists attempts a climb of 'Walltopia' at the new Foyle Arena on Wednesday. DER1615MC055