Poole Park is to benefit from a £2.7 million boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund's Parks for People programme.
The council’s successful bid for National Lottery funding will support a range of improvements to the historic park over the next four years.
Proposals include improving play areas, footpaths, roads, car parking and access in the park. Other improvements include better landscaping and drainage, dredging of the small and large freshwater lakes, and the creation of new islands in the lagoon and a new viewing platform for bird watching. The practical works sit alongside a broad range of community events and activities aimed at reaching new audiences.
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “It’s difficult to overstate the importance of our public parks. Vital to our well-being and essential to biodiversity, they are highly valued spaces enjoyed daily by people from all walks of life. Poole Park is one of the latest parks to benefit from over £900 million of National Lottery funding, which over the last twenty years has played a crucial role in revitalising more than 800 parks across the UK.”
Councillor John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Borough of Poole, said: "Poole Park is a real gem in the heart of the town and is treasured by so many people and we are all absolutely delighted that the HLF and Big Lottery Fund have recognised the importance that this park plays in our lives. This significant funding will both improve and protect the park for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.
“Today’s fantastic announcement is a testament to the hard work and commitment by the council, the Friends of Poole Park, the Poole Park Heritage Group and the many other individuals, groups and businesses that have helped shape the bid proposals over the last three years. Poole Park is very much a 'People's Park' and I would encourage residents to get involved as much as they can in caring for this beautiful park.”
Martin Whitchurch, Poole Park Life Project Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “We are really excited about the plans for Poole Park and are delighted to be able to celebrate this news and kick start the four year delivery phase with the launch of an exciting Poole Park Community Arts Exhibition on Saturday 12 August on the West Field.
“The whole community can get involved in a range of activities throughout the day as well as finding out what the funding means for Poole Park. You can take part in one of our competitions for painting, photography and pottery/sculpture which people of all ages can enter. Alternatively, local art groups, particularly those that involve the community, can display their art pieces on the day. Or if you are part of a local community performance group, whether it’s dance, singing or drama, and would like to perform at the event please let us know.”