Supporters of the town’s Wyndham Park are celebrating following the news that it has won £818,000 in Lottery cash.
The money will allow it to be returned to its former glory days as a First World War memorial park and its facilities to be refurbished.
The grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund to South Kesteven District Council and the Wyndham Park Forum.
SKDC’s leader and executive member for economy Councillor Bob Adams said: “This is wonderful news for Wyndham Park, Grantham and South Kesteven. We thank the HLF and Big Lottery Fund teams for awarding such a significant figure towards a park that will be enjoyed with new facilities and buildings for generations to come.
“To secure this level of investment means the park will have the potential to be among the best in the East Midlands and our thanks go to forum members who gave valuable volunteer work and park-users who gave us great feedback during consultations.”
Major plans for the park have been given the backing of councillors and include the demolition of the old plant room by the boating lake to make way for a new visitors’ centre. The old ticket office and pool changing rooms will be refurbished and the boating lake will be relined.
The visitors’ centre will be an information point within the park and will be a central point for training, activities and events. Facilities will also include toilets, a workshop area, a main visitor area and an area for use by schools.
Chairman of Wyndham Park Forum John Knowles said: “This is great reward for the time volunteers and officials have put into this effort that will truly transform parts of the park.
“It’s even more poignant that this funding has been secured a century on from the time when the park was built in memory of local people who fought during the First World War.”
Elizabeth Bowskill, who has been secretary of Wyndham Park Forum since it was formed in 2005, also said the grant was reward for all the work that has been put into securing it.
She said: “It’s been a lot of hard work which people have not seen in the last few years because most of it has been behind closed doors.
“I am really looking forward to seeing all our plans come to fruition. I am sure there will be lots of opportunities for people to get involved and volunteer.”
Work on the project began in earnest in 2014 when the HLF gave an initial award of £92,500 to help the forum and council put together plans to apply for the full grant.
Grantham Civic Society also welcomed the news of the grant. Chairman Courtney Finn said: “We are very pleased and delighted. We are associated with Grantham Rivercare and are very concerned and interested in the welfare of the park and the efforts to improve it. We think they have done a great job so far with the money they have spent.”
Mr Finn added: “This is great news for the town and the whole area. We support everything the council and the forum do to make the park better.”
In recent years the park has acquired a sensory garden, a new water play area and a memorial to the Machine Gun Corps, which was based at Belton. The park also has Green Flag status, which recognises high standards in green spaces.
HLF chairman Sir Peter Luff said of the grant: “It’s clear that our parks are important to us in countless ways – from physical and mental wellbeing to a connection with nature and our heritage. It’s also clear, however, that public parks must work in new ways to respond to the funding challenges they face and this investment, thanks to National Lottery players, will help them to do this. We’re delighted to announce this funding, especially in time for the 10th Love Parks Week, and look forward to a bright future for these parks.”
To celebrate the funding decision, SKDC has launched a new park website www.wyndhamparkgrantham.co.uk and new social media channels on Facebook and Instagram.