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Community joy as playgrounds win lottery funding

Celebrating the Big Lottery news at Abbot Hall play area in Kendal (www.stevenbarber.co.uk)

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has successfully bid for £200,000 of National Lottery funding to support eight new playground projects.

The lottery grant will boost funds raised by local community groups and is a welcome addition to almost £1 million which the council has invested in parks and play areas over the past five years.

The council applied to the Big Lottery Fund to support playground projects in Kendal, Grasmere, Ambleside, Ulverston, Windermere and Sedbergh where SLDC is working in partnership with local community groups.

The council will receive the money over the next two years.

Councillor Dyan Jones, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “The Big Lottery funds projects which demonstrate successful partnership working and community involvement, so this is fantastic news for all the dedicated and hardworking residents who are helping the council to improve their local playgrounds.

“The money will make a huge difference, enabling us to complete some of the exciting projects which we are already working on and start transforming and other playgrounds at least six months earlier than we’d expected.”

Plans for Maryfell play area in Sedbergh

The Big Lottery money has already been allocated. It means five projects which will share £140,000 are now fully funded:

  • Abbot Hall Playground, Kendal
  • Broadgate Meadow Playground, Grasmere
  • Castlefield and Greenbank Playground, Ambleside
  • Rayrigg Meadow Playground, Windermere
  • Maryfell Playground, Sedbergh.

The lottery money will also contribute £60,000 to a further three projects which will still require further funding:

  • Lightburn Park Playground, Ulverston
  • North Lonsdale Road Playground, Ulverston
  • Queen’s Park Playground, Windermere.

“Behind each of these projects is a friends’ group, a village society, a residents’ association a town council or a parish council who get involved in consultation, fund-raising and design work. The council couldn’t do it without them but working together we can provide the playgrounds which our communities need and deserve,” added Cllr Jones.

The Friends of Abbot Hall, who launched a crowdfunding appeal to help raise money for a new and improved playground in Kendal, say the Big Lottery funding has helped them to achieve their target.

Melissa Lovett, a parent and member of the friends’ group, said: “We are delighted to have reached our goal in raising £120,000 for the new playground. We can’t wait for the next phase to begin and look forward to having a wonderful new playground in place for the summer.”

SLDC’s Parks and Open Spaces department made the successful bid for lottery funding as part of its Pennies and Pounds Make Fun Playgrounds project.

One of the council’s key priorities is to promote better health and wellbeing, recognising that playgrounds and open spaces are important for children and adults too.

“Free, public playgrounds encourage physical fitness in children and help to develop their social skills, such as how to share equipment and play in a way that keeps others safe.

“Open spaces and play areas are also great for parents, grandparents and carers, allowing them to enjoy the outdoors, the fresh air and the opportunity to socialise,” added Cllr Jones.

SLDC manages and maintains 61 playgrounds and eight Multi-use Games Areas or MUGAs.

A GOLDEN AGE OF PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS 

South Lakeland District Council has invested almost a million pounds improving its parks and play areas over the past five years.

SLDC has contributed £529,000 in capital funding and a further £404,000 has been awarded to projects through the council’s Locally Important Projects (LIPs) fund which supports community initiatives.

Individual district councillors have also donated £14,000 from their Member Locality Budgets.

In Kendal the council has invested in playgrounds at Hallgarth, Sandylands, Rinkfield and Kendal Parks.

Ambleside’s Rothay Park play area has had a complete makeover and in Ulverston, Mill Dam Playground and Lightburn Park have also been improved.

Playground projects in Oxenholme, Flookburgh, Milnthorpe and Ings have also received funding.

SLDC’s Leader, Councillor Giles Archibald, said: “In sharp contrast to many local authorities up and down the country which are not investing in their parks and playgrounds this council is committed to a programme of improvements.

“Here in South Lakeland we are enjoying a golden age of parks and playgrounds. Our residents tell us they want improved facilities and that is exactly what we are delivering.”

SLDC has already funded £220,000 worth of improvements to Nobles Rest, a treasured park in Kendal which is being enhanced as part of a community-led project.

The council is also investing in improvements to Millerground at Windermere, improving footpaths to give access to the lake for everyone and building a new children’s playground.

SLDC is also looking at ways of enhancing Fletcher Park in Kendal, following a public consultation on how it can be improved.

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