International tennis coach and Adelaide’s own Roger Rasheed has today unveiled a new sport and recreation facility that is set to improve the health of children and families in Oaklands Park.

Rajah Street Reserve has been transformed from an underused site into a modern multi-use sport and recreation ground in just three months following a joint project between the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation (RRSF) and Marion Council.

The RRSF selected the site in the City of Marion for its first national project.

It has seen the installation of multi-use sports courts for tennis, netball and basketball, exercise equipment, a 40m running track, and play equipment for children.

The commitment from the RRSF will continue with ongoing training programs and mentoring from elite athletes for local children – creating a long-lasting effect.

RRSF founder Roger Rasheed, who today officially opened the reserve to the community with Marion Mayor Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, said overhauling the site would improve the lives of local residents by placing exciting and accessible facilities on their doorstep.

“I see sport as a medicine because it can save lives,” Mr Rasheed said.

“That’s what the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation is all about – giving children in disadvantaged communities’ access to a better life through sport.

“The Rajah Street Reserve re-development was an opportunity to do just that.”

The overhaul cost $300,000 with the foundation providing the bulk of the investment through fundraising and grants while Marion Council contributed $55,000 as well as design and project management skills. Corporate partners also provided in-kind support.

Mayor Felicity-ann Lewis said the reserve was now confirmed as the heart of the local community.

“The transformation of Rajah Street Reserve is astonishing and has confirmed the site as the heart of this tight-knit local community,” Dr Lewis said.

“The reserve is now an exciting and welcoming place for children and families to play, exercise and get together with friends and neighbours.

“I would like to thank the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation for their generosity and commitment in working with the City of Marion to improve the health and wellbeing of this community.”

The upgrades include:

  • Two multi-purpose sports courts
  • 40m running track
  • New landscaping
  • Walking path
  • Tree plantings
  • Grassed area and soccer goals
  • Playground equipment, including a climbing structure and spinner
  • Exercise equipment, including steppers and a sit up bench
  • Picnic and barbecue area

Landscaping will be expanded with further plantings in the near future.

Rajah Street Reserve is central to 410 households and Marion Council has worked with local families to build a stronger community in the area since 2006 by coordinating events, including celebrating Mother’s and Father’s days, Christmas parties.

Local residents have formed the Rajah Reserve Community Group, which brings people together to share weekly meals.

Additionally, the newly-formed Rajah Rec Squad will be working with the foundation and council on a community event to celebrate the opening of the reserve.

Mr Rasheed said: “Together with considerable donations of services, sizeable discounts and financial contributions from a great team of companies, organisations and individuals we have transformed this reserve.”

“Hopefully in time we will transform the lives of the children and transform the community overall.

“We will be here until we do.”

Dr Lewis said the reserve now provided the facilities local residents needed.

“The new-look Rajah Street Reserve has been shaped by local residents during extensive community consultation,” she said.

“I would like to thank everyone for their input and urge them to make the most of this unique opportunity provided by the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation and Marion Council.”

Businesses that have supported the project include Jarvis Toyota, ResourceCo, Clubs SA and Toro.

Media contact: Craig Clarke (City of Marion) 0434 600 637 and Roger Rasheed (Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation) 0411 744 800.