Heeley Millennium Park has been told it’s going to get a massive boost with funding from the Big Lottery.
After 2 years of work by staff at Heeley Development Trust, the Groundwork UK managed Community Spaces programme has agreed to fund improvements on the park to the tune of £450,000. It involved hours of consultations with local people, numerous drawings, thousands of calculations and 2 stages of applications but eventually the Flagship grant award was approved this April.
It’s over 12 years since work first began on the park and, though it’s stood the test of time, it’s ready for the revamp that this money can provide. Thom White, Park Manager, said “We started by looking at the playground. It’s survived well, given the amount of use it gets, but it’s looking tired. We’re going to bring it into the 21st century with new equipment, things like swings which kids and their mums and dads have been asking for for years. Things that are still popular, like the slide and the Witches Hat roundabout, will get a thorough revamp. Added to that we’re going to extend the fence around the playground so children can safely play in the woods alongside – making dens, developing their imagination- whilst the grown-ups can use the new picnic benches, knowing the kids are safe.”
“Next on the list was something for the older children so the plans include new bigger swings outside the playground, basketball and football courts. Plus there’ll be a whole string of keep-fit equipment; a new generation of climbing boulders to suit all abilities set in a revamped landscape; and improved BMX and mountain bike facilities”.
“The whole point is to give people of all ages the chance to get active, for free, in a place near to where they live,” says Trust Manager Andy Jackson. “This grant will help us to build on the work we, and local people like us, have done to make this area a better place to live and work for all of us.”
Other planned changes include new signage to guide people through the park, solar powered lighting, new entrances and much more. The Trust plans to keep people involved at all stages so look out for chances to look at the plans, help pick play equipment and even to get your hands dirty building the new park.
Thom White again – “All this money is what’s called ‘Capital’ funding for actual physical works not for staff costs. The next trick is to keep finding the money to pay the wonderful people who look after the park day-to-day!.”
If you want to know a bit more about the plans then give the Trust a call on 0114 2500613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details on the where the funding for the improvements has come from, have a look at www.community-spaces.org.uk.