April 24, 2013 | Armistead News
Work on the renewal of a South Lakeland village’s leisure facilities has passed its first major milestone after a four-figure grant from the Banks Community Fund helped campaigners reach the total they needed to pay for the installation of a new Multi Use Games Area (MUGA).
And the group behind the Endmoor People’s Park Project near Kendal has hailed the positive impact that it has had in bringing all sections of the local community closer together.
Fundraising for the scheme has been taking place for the last three years, after local people came together in 2009 to try to improve the village’s outdated children’s park, which was no longer fit for purpose and which had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
The group has held a wide range of fundraising events since then, from jumble sales to sponsored penalty shoot-outs, to try to raise the £16,000 that was needed to fund the installation of the MUGA and buy the sporting equipment to go with it.
Preston Richard Parish Council has also been very active in supporting the campaign – and now, a £6,930 grant from Banks Renewables, via its Banks Community Fund, has taken the total raised past its target and enabled the group to get things going.
The MUGA, which is located next to the village hall, school and football pitch, includes a basketball and five-a-side football court, as well as a hard standing area that will be suitable for use by bikes, scooters and skateboards.
A new meeting point, complete with covered seating, is also being built alongside the MUGA, to provide somewhere safe for local young people to congregate.
The contract for landscaping work on the site was awarded to Kendal-based firm Paul Bennett Landscapes.
The group’s attentions are already turning towards Phase Two of the project, which will entail improving facilities available for primary school-aged children in the village.
Project chairperson Gill Lawson, says: “The existing park is one of very few local open spaces that we have here and originally came about as a result of a big community fundraising effort 25 years ago, but time has taken its toll and there was a very real threat of it having to be closed.
“We got together as a community and decided we needed to do something about it. It’s been a real labour of love ever since, and a huge amount of energy and commitment has gone into making it happen, so to reach this landmark is a fantastic boost for us.
“Because our fundraising efforts have involved both younger and older local residents, it’s helped to bring down some of the barriers between them which can arise in any community – there’s definitely a better feeling between these two groups now that they’ve had a chance to get to know each other properly, and that’s made the project worthwhile in itself.
“After so much hard work, the grant we received from Banks which has enabled us to reach our initial target came as a real godsend and we can’t wait to see everything in place.
“We’re all really grateful to Banks for their generous donation, which has enabled us to move the project on far more quickly than would otherwise have been the case, and knowing that the MUGA will soon be in place has given everyone a real boost towards raising the funds we need to do for the next phase of work.”
Banks Renewables is the company behind the Armistead wind farm that has been built on land near to Old Hutton, to the east of the M6 between junctions 36 and 37, and it is also looking to develop the proposed Killington scheme, which would be situated on land between the A684 Sedbergh Road and Junction 37 of the M6.
The Banks Renewables Armistead community benefits fund will make around £12,300 available every year to support environmental and community improvements in the surrounding area, and the company will be working in partnership with local people to help ensure their priorities are reflected in the initiatives that are supported by this fund.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The commitment shown by everyone involved with the park project is amazing, and we’re extremely pleased that our contribution has enabled them to make the first part of their plans a reality.”
“The community fund linked to our Armistead wind farm will soon be up and running and we’re looking forward to being able to work in partnership with the local community to support eligible local community and environmental projects from the revenues generated by the wind farm for the next 25 years.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.