The young people of Longridge and Shaw Heath in Knutsford have hit the back of the net after securing funding towards a brand new full-size football pitch and multi-use games area.
Waste Recycling Group Ltd, through their landfill communities funds distributed by WREN, Connexions Youth Capital Fund and Knutsford Town Council, have all agreed to stump up the cash after the young people of Longridge spent months campaigning for the opportunity to improve the town’s facilities.
After organising their own petition, Manchester-based Great Places Housing Group helped them to create a DVD and submit a funding application. It also supported local residents and partners group Community Spirit to bid for £50,000 from WREN, an organisation which provides grants to projects which enhance the environment.
I’m so proud to be Chairman of such a prolific group. The community have pulled together to get this project off the ground and give the kids what they’ve wanted for so long.
Cllr Olivia Hunter, chair of Community Spirit, the residents' and partners' group for Knutsford Over Ward
The money comes at a time when residents were beginning to give up hope on creating a safe place for youngsters to play football and other games. Despite supervised play sessions organised by Great Places and Cheshire East Sports and Play Development, the community has had to make do with hired venues rather than a dedicated play facility that they could take ownership of.
Great Places has been working alongside Cheshire East Council for a number of years, consulting with residents to ensure the play facilities fitted exactly with the needs of the community. With Cheshire East Council offering the land and site for the pitch, Great Places were instrumental helping to raise money. Support from the Children’s Centre, the local police, fire service, Manchester Airport and local youth clubs, have all helped the community achieve their goal.
Stephen Porter, chief executive of Great Places Housing Group, said: "This is a great achievement for the Longridge and Shaw Heath community who have been waiting for this facility for some time and have been instrumental in the success of the bid. Great Places are pleased to have been a part of the consultation and funding process and know the real difference this will make to so many peoples’ lives. A big thank you must go to all partners involved."
Marianne Hogdkinson, parks management officer at Cheshire East Council said: “We are delighted to have worked with Great Places and Community Spirit to enable the provision of much needed additional recreational opportunities for the local community and visitors to the Longridge area.
Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “We are delighted to have helped out on this important project and I am sure that the local community will make the most of the new football pitch and games area. Anything that encourages young people to exercise and enjoy themselves is to be encouraged.”
“After extensive local consultations and successful funding bids we are looking forward to the project starting on site soon to create the new football pitch area, hard standing year round football court and an access path, complimented by bench seating, bins and a sign. Cheshire East Council would like to thank all of those involved who have worked so very hard to provide this for everyone to enjoy.”
Cllr Olivia Hunter, chair of Community Spirit, the residents' and partners' group for Knutsford Over Ward, said: “I’m so proud to be Chairman of such a prolific group. The community have pulled together to get this project off the ground and give the kids what they’ve wanted for so long.”
Richard Smith, Grant Manager for WREN, said: “The Longridge recreation ground is an excellent example of a dedicated group of young people getting together to make a positive difference to their community. We are delighted to be involved in this project and hope to see the area completed soon and being enjoyed.”
Work on the facilities, which form phase three in Cheshire East Council’s play development scheme, is set to start in the summer.
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