Five-figure Banks Group grant helps friends continue Addison Park revival

April 5, 2013 | Browney Lane News



The continuing renaissance of a well-used community park in the south-west outskirts of Durham City has been backed with a five-figure grant from a local property and energy firm.

Work has been ongoing at Addison Park in Browney over the last two years to improve the play and leisure facilities available to local residents.

Landscaping and development work has been ongoing for the last 18 months after the Friends of Addison Park, a community group which was formed in 2006 with the specific intention of restoring the park to its former glory, secured a Lottery grant to fund it.

And now, The Friends have received a £15,074 grant from the Meadowfield-based Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, which is administered in partnership with the County Durham Community Foundation, to help to pay for the installation of a range of new play equipment.

Children from Browney and Brandon Primary Schools have been involved from the start with the design of the playpark, which includes a zip wire, tyre swing, climbing frame and rope walk, as well as with the planting of flowers and borders around the bowling green.  Two seats have also been installed, with another one to follow.

The £60,000 cost of the play park has been funded from various sources, including Banks’ donation.  It had originally been hoped to officially open it in December, but this was been put back until Friday 5 April to give the rain-soaked ground a chance to dry out.

Addison Park was originally created from farmland in the 1930s to provide recreational activities for the local mining families, and while it has always been popular, it has become run down in recent years through a lack of investment.

The surrounding community was identified in Durham County Council’s Open Space Need Assessment as having a need for both new play space and improvements to existing facilities.

John J Muirhead, chairman of the Friends of Addison Park, expects the number of people using the park to grow even more, and he is already thinking about the next stage of redevelopment work that could be undertaken.

He says: “Even though facilities were far from ideal, Addison Park has always been well used by all sections of the local community, and the formation of the Friends group came about through a strong local desire to see improvements made.

“A great deal of fundraising and development work has gone into this project, and there’s a real sense of achievement about reaching a point where we can physically see the results of everyone’s efforts.

“Having the local children so closely involved with this project is simply common sense, as it’s them that will gain most benefit out of the play park, and their enthusiasm for and excitement about what we’re doing has been fantastic to see.

“We’re aiming to officially open the park as soon as the ground is fit for use, and we’re already looking at what improvements we might make to the park’s existing area of tarmac to make it better for all the park’s users.

“Banks’ contribution to this project, in terms of both the grant the company provided and the expertise that has come alongside it, has been invaluable, and everyone involved with the scheme is extremely grateful for their support.”

Banks is the company behind recently-approved plans for a residential development in Browney which will see 271 family homes built on a 27-acre site near to the junction of North View and Browney Lane, and which will enable the company to fund a range of further substantial community improvements.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The drive, energy and commitment that the Friends group have put into improving Addison Park is truly inspirational, and it’s exciting to see the new facilities becoming available for everyone to use.

“This is an excellent example of the sort of community-based project that will be supported by the benefits funds associated with our Browney Lane scheme, and as a locally-based business, we’re extremely pleased to be able to support the Friends’ work.”

The Banks Community Fund is administered in partnership with the County Durham Community Foundation.  Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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