THE spotlight has been thrown on the benefits substantial funding has brought to community parks in Chester.
Representatives from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN) and the Waste Recycling Group (WRG) have visited parks within the area that have benefited from substantial grants.
Peter Cox and Richard Smith from WREN and Nick Blake from WRG made visits to Caldy Valley Nature Park, Westminster Park, and Edgars Field - meeting councillors, officers and Friends of groups to hear what a difference the funding had made to the community.
West Cheshire has benefited from more than £3.6m of WREN funding to assist community projects over the last 10 years.
Councillor Richard Short, Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, said: “I was delighted to meet with the WREN and WRG representatives and show them firsthand exactly what had been achieved with the grants awarded.
“WREN’s funding has helped residents to improve their green spaces for the benefit of the whole community, as well as visitors to the area.
“The works undertaken have not only helped to improve amenities for local people of all ages but in many cases has gone a long way for protecting environments to be enjoyed by all for many years to come.”
Caldy Valley Nature Park received £55,150 from WREN for a range of improvements including better access for people with different levels of mobility, restoration of the footpaths, enhancements to the main pond, creation of a wetland area, flood alleviation work near the Millennium Bridge, the replacement of timber footbridges repaired, a new noticed board and a timber rail in the car park.
Chester’s first BMX track opened at Westminster Park following £80,050 of WREN funding, along with 1,200 newly planted trees and an upgraded cricket pitch. The works also included installing new and challenging play equipment for tots to teens.
Edgar’s Field received £167,200 from WREN's 'Community Challenge' fund - one of only eight successful projects nationally. The funding provided a new play area, with many children from the local school getting involved with the design of the artwork and railings.
Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said: “WREN makes a difference to people’s lives by awarding grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK.
“During my visit to Chester I was very impressed to see the difference WREN funding has made to a number of projects which I hope are enjoyed for many years to come.
“I was particularly impressed to see how the projects have forged strong links between the Council, Friends Groups and the wider community and would like to congratulate everyone involved.”
After the tour the representatives attended the Civic Trust New Years Honours ceremony to see Edgar’s Field awarded an accolade.
For more information on WREN and their community grants please visit www.wren.org.uk.
Any group wishing for advice on finding sources of funding for their projects should contact external funding advisor Amanda Doyle 01244 976263.
To find out more about the friends groups please visit www.waveney.gov.uk/Leisure/Parks+and+Open+Spaces/friends.htm.