Banks Renewables signs up to support friends of Ulley country park noticeboards project

March 31, 2015 | Community News

Users of a South Yorkshire country park are getting a better view of what the surrounding community has to offer thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.

The Friends Of Ulley Country Park near Rotherham has used a £1,620 grant from renewable energy firm Banks Renewables to erect new noticeboards at the Ulley entrance to the park which show what’s on offer in both the park and the village.

The noticeboards have been designed to help create more cohesion between the different parts of the community, which will hopefully then encourage both local people and visitors to make more use of all the different things that the area as a whole has to offer.

Information about what’s happening in the park will be made available on the new sign, with other community organisations and resources also being able to put their own notices up about what they offer and what events they’re putting on.

Located just off the A618 Rotherham to Swallownest Road, the 19-hectare Ulley Country Park includes over 12 hectares of water, and contains a variety of habitats including open water, woodland, grassland, arable land and gorse scrub which host many types of plants, insects, wildfowl and animals.  It is an established venue for angling and water sports, and is home to Ulley Sailing Club.

The Friends Of Ulley Country Park has around 300 members, with an 18-strong committee and core group of around 30 volunteers who carry out a range of maintenance and fundraising activities through the year, including regular cafe days in the visitors’ centre.

The grant was awarded to the Friends from the community fund linked to Banks Renewables’ nearby Penny Hill Wind Farm.

Di Haswell, who is part of the Friends Of Ulley Country Park committee, says: “Ulley Country Park provides a wonderful venue for a wide range of activities, but what we’ve found is that people getting to the far side of it don’t tend to go beyond the gates to see what else might be on offer in the wider community when there are lots of places and events there that we know they might enjoy.

“Putting up the noticeboards makes it easy for everyone to see what’s happening both in the park and in the village, and it will hopefully encourage more people visiting the park to also go into Ulley, as well as making more local residents aware of events and activities happening into the park.

“The Friends group has a healthy membership which carries out all sorts of maintenance and management activities, and we also have a loyal following who attend our cafe days and other fundraising events, but with the costs we face in keeping up with regular tasks continuing to rise, we don’t have the funds to cover larger one-off investments like the noticeboards.

“Banks Renewables’ generous support means we’ve been able to put these boards up in time for the arrival of the better weather, and we hope we’ll see even more people out and about both in the park and in the village through the forthcoming Spring and beyond.”

The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund will provide over £500,000 of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of the Penny Hill Wind Farm, which sits to the south east of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18.

The fund is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and aims to make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in these areas.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund was specifically designed to help local community organisations improve what they can offer to their members and the people in the area, and supporting projects such as this clearly fulfils this brief.

“The Friends dedicate a lot of time and energy to keeping Ulley Country Park in the best possible shape, and we’re very pleased to be supporting their ongoing drive to share what’s on offer there with as many people as possible.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks’ Penny Hill Wind Farm which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 for further information.

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