A boy throws a bean bag during the Phoenix Park launch

More than 150 people helped to celebrate the opening of Phoenix Park in the Gascoigne neighbourhood of Barking on Saturday.

The event featured a host of activities including table tennis, a children’s drawing competition and giant chess.

Local councillors, both Deputy Leaders, Cllr Dominic Twomey, Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Core Services and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf, took part in the celebration which brought together community organisations from around the area.

Cllr Ashraf said: “It was such a great day and so good to see everyone having fun. The new Phoenix Park is fabulous but it’s no wonder because it’s been designed by the community, for the community and you can see they’ve put their heart and soul into it.”

Local resident and Gascoigne Residents’ Forum member, Kenneth Soko, said: “Having lived on the Gascoigne Estate for over 10 years and now being a member of the residents forum, I am sure my fellow members would agree with me that it is an honour to have been part of the co-design of Phoenix Park. I am thankful for Be First for engaging the community. This park is truly the people’s park.”

Sadia Ur-Rehman, Community Engagement Co-ordinator at Be First, said: “The amount of love and hard work put into making this park a great place has been breath-taking. Be First is proud to be a part of it but without the passion from local residents, the area would not have such a wonderful park.”

The park, which was built by Wates Residential, was designed around four themes identified by local residents; exercise, play, growing and contemplation. These are brought together at the heart through a stage, which can be used for gatherings, events, communal dining, games and more.

The park includes: a natural play area, a gym corner, a seating and stage area for a space to relax in, a garden area, a large feasting table and a growing plot. Access is via Abbey Road, Barking and the park is open 7am-9pm.