Rhys Jones Centre opens

A Celebration Day marked the official opening of a community centre named in memory of Rhys Jones.

Rhys’s parents, Melanie and Steve Jones were joined by former Everton star Joe Royle for the opening ceremony on Saturday 31 August at 12 noon.

The idea for the centre arose following the tragic shooting of 11-year-old Rhys in 2007 and a Trust was established to raise funds for a community centre for people living in the Croxteth Park estate and surrounding neighbourhood.

The centre, in Langley Close, has community rooms, two all -weather sports pitches and changing facilities.

It has been funded by a £250,000 contribution from the Rhys Jones Trust and £250,000 from the City Council which also donated the land.

Melanie and Steve Jones started work on the centre by cutting the first piece of turf on the site earlier this year.

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, welcomed the opening of the centre. He said: “This centre is something really positive which has come out of a desperately tragic event – one which shook the world.

“It will be a very fitting legacy to the memory of Rhys and I hope his parents will be proud of what this centre stands for.

“We promised the community that this centre would be built and I am very pleased that we have honoured that pledge so there will be a lasting legacy to Rhys’s memory.”

Local Councillor Peter Mitchell said: “This day will be the culmination of five years’ work from the time the centre was first proposed.

“It is the first community centre in the area since the Croxteth Park estate was built and it will be something which I believe will bring the community together and be the focus of activity in the years to come – that is why the opening of it will be a celebration

“I know Rhys’s parents are delighted with the centre and are looking forward to it being used by the community.”

The centre has been built by Regeneration Liverpool, the joint venture partnership between the City Council and Sigma Inpartnership, which is currently in the process of regenerating key development sites throughout Merseyside, including Norris Green and Stonebridge.

The council has transferred the complex on a peppercorn lease to the Alt Valley Community Trust, who already operate sports facilities in the area and who will manage the new centre.

Saturday’s celebrations  include a funfair, bouncy castle and food and drink.

Pictured: Steve and Melanie Jones  cut the first turf to start the work on the centre.