It is thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) secured by Newground Together and Hyndburn Borough Council.
Local agencies and the Friends of Rhyddings Park community group have worked tirelessly for the last two years to gain the funding that will not only revolutionise the park but also bring 600 training opportunities and new jobs to the area.
From its early beginnings as a private house and gardens belonging to local cotton magnate Robert Watson in the mid-1800s, the park was acquired by Oswaldtwistle Urban District Council in the early 20th century as a recreational facility.
Newground Together has been awarded £1,389,308 by HLF and BIG with grants and budget commitments from Hyndburn Borough Council, Newground Together, Lancashire Environmental Fund and in-kind contributions from partners such as Bootstrap Enterprises and Hyndburn Arts. The value of match funding totals £703,949 giving a total project value of just over £2m.
The money will be used to:
- Restore the coach house as a community venue
- Return the derelict walled garden to its traditional use of food growing, including the construction of Victorian-style greenhouses
- Work with Bootstrap Enterprises to develop a social enterprise based in the restored coach house, generating income for the park from meeting rooms, a cafe and a training kitchen
- Create a performance space area and develop a programme of community arts working with Hyndburn Arts at the nearby Civic Arts Theatre
- Establish a training and volunteering programme linked to park management, community engagement and health promotion
- Provide education resources and opportunities for local schools
- Develop programmes of guided walks and family fun activities
Building works will begin in April 2016 and should last around 12 months.
Today’s news comes as part of a £32m funding announcement for parks and cemeteries across the UK.
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said on behalf of HLF and BIG: “Our parks are where we play some of our first games, where we make some of our first discoveries and where we spend some of our best times with family and friends. However we use them, parks are an important part of life, which is why we’re delighted to be investing National Lottery players’ money in parks from Bristol to Helensburgh to carry out vital restoration and create some wonderful opportunities for communities and wildlife.”
Peter Jordan, Executive Director of Newground Together, said: “Rhyddings Park has an incredible heritage and this project will have a firm nod to the past, while providing facilities expected of a modern park and a focus for training and community support that will provide benefits far beyond the park boundaries. This innovative project will give the people of Oswaldtwistle an invaluable community resource but will also provide an economic boost as we intend to use local contractors to help carry out the work.
"We’ve had great support from our local partners who have worked very hard over the past couple of years to make this happen; I’m delighted that the National Lottery shares our vision for the park and have committed funding that is vital to making it happen.. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the work begin.”
Gayle Knight, Secretary of the Friends of Rhyddings Park Group, said: “Over the last 10 years Friends of Rhyddings Park has worked hard to build relationships that have enabled this bid to be so strong. With setbacks along the way the process hasn’t always been easy but we are now thrilled to be in a position where all the hard work of all the partners is coming to fruition.
"We can’t thank Newground enough for the way they have handled this and achieved such fantastic results to benefit the community of Oswaldtwistle.”
Councillor Ken Moss, Cabinet Member for Parks, said: “Securing this grant of £1.46m from the National Lottery is absolutely fantastic news and means that Rhyddings Park will be completely refurbished. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen, including our parks staff, our partners Newground, the Friends of Rhyddings Park, the Civic Arts Centre team, Boot strap Enterprises and Lancashire County Council.
"These are exciting times for the park and I look forward to seeing it when all the work has been completed, its set to be an amazing facility for the residents of Oswaldtwistle and the whole of the Borough of Hyndburn.”
Notes to editors
To date, more than £776m of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996.
About Newground Together
Newground Together is a charity. It is a member of the Together Housing Group which collectively manages 37,000 homes affecting more than 60,000 people’s lives and employing 1,300 staff spread over a large geographical area in the North of England.
The Newground companies comprise a registered charity, Newground Together, and a wholly owned subsidiary Newground (a Community Interest Company or social enterprise). Services are delivered through Newground and any profits made are reinvested back into the charity to support community projects, which further the charity’s objects. Newground Together also receives substantial donations from the members of the Together Housing Group.
HLF Press Office: Rebecca Lamm on tel: 020 7591 6207 and via email: Rebecca.Lamm@hlf.org.uk; or Katie Owen on tel: 020 7591 6036
BIG Press Office: Anupa Devi on tel: 020 7211 1888 or via email: Anupa.Devi@biglotteryfund.org.uk