South Lakeland Play Area Transformed After Four-Year Fundraising Effort

A fantastic new play area has opened in a popular Ulverston Park.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) worked with the Friends of Lightburn Park on a four-year project to raise funds to transform the old play area into a larger, more modern and exciting facility for children of all ages and abilities.

The £120,000 new play area features a zip-wire, more swings and climbing features, as well as inclusive facilities which can be enjoyed by all.

Ulverston mayor, Councillor Sharon Webster, cutting the ribbon to officially open the new play area at Lightburn Park, watched by Amanda Smith (Chairwoman of Friends of Lightburn Park), Ulverston town and district Councillor Dave Webster, SLDC locality team leader Sue Warner, Paul Taylor from play equipment supplier Kompan, Friends treasurer Taz Douglas, Friends secretary Hannah Clarke, and SLDC locality team leader Polly Straker.

The Friends of Lightburn Park has been fundraising for the new play area since 2016.

SLDC provided £40,000 from its Locally Important Projects (LIPs) and capital grants funds and further funding came from the National Lottery Community Fund, Ulverston Town Council, Sir John Fisher Foundation, CGP publishers, Ørsted’s Walney Extension Community Fund, FCC Communities Foundation and Oakmere Homes.

SLDC also worked with the Friends group on the design of the new play area and managed the build project.

Amanda Smith, chairwoman of Friends of Lightburn Park, said: “The aim of our group was to improve the facilities and put the heart back into this popular Ulverston park once again.

“After speaking to local people, schools and visitors, it was agreed that we wanted to foster a safe harmonious environment for all ages and abilities.

“We are particularly pleased with the PEC (Picture Exchange Communication) boards, included after advice from the headteacher at Sandside School to support non-verbal children communicate what they want to play on.

“In the six years we have been supported not only by SLDC but South Lakeland Model Engineering Society, who run the Lightburn Park Railway, Neighbourhood Watch from Aldwych Terrace and Lightburn Avenue, Continental Landscapes, the Police and PCSOs, local councillors, Ulverston in Bloom, local schoolchildren planting bulbs and building bird boxes, Sandside school for planting, Incredible Edibles, and the local community coming together in autumn to clear all of the sensory gardens raised beds last year.

“We are delighted with this amazing play area which really does cater for all ages and abilities.”

Other improvements secured by the Friends included new football goalposts, picnic benches courtesy of Tesco, a noticeboard thanks to town councillor Norman Bishop-Rowe, bike racks, a bear bin, new flower beds, a wildlife area and bug hotel, and a tree stumpery, as well as a multi-use games area.

The mayor of Ulverston, Councillor Sharon Webster, speaking on behalf of Ulverston Town Council, said: “Ulverston Town Council was delighted to be able to support the Friends of Lightburn Park and SLDC in delivering this wonderful new facility for the children at Lightburn Park.

“It’s a real credit to everybody involved and will be thoroughly enjoyed by all of the children.”