Park View 4 U, a community group who mobilised people in their area to transform a once 'boggy field' into a community park where young people could channel their energy, is the latest winner of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
On a cold January morning in 2004 a group of residents appealed for the community to come to the local playing fields to show their support for something to be done about the lack of facilities. Over 250 responded to the call, and it was from this and a subsequent public meeting, that the Park View 4 U Community Group was formed.
The group have held numerous fundraising events, including family fun days cake stalls, plant sales, dinner dances, concerts and sponsored walks. They also successfully lobbied Fylde Borough Council who, after watching an innovative presentation by the group, voted unanimously to allow £70,000 to be used as match funding to drain the fields. This was the start of a journey which has up to date seen Park View 4 U raise an incredible £1.5 million.
From day one the group engaged the community on how to improve their facilities, holding several public workshops to determine what was needed and even organising trips so local young people could see for themselves what exciting equipment was available. Local residents remained firmly in the decision making seat throughout the development, through various consultation initiatives and regular opportunities for involvement and volunteering. By listening to the needs of the community, and bringing in professional play experts, Park View 4 U were able to deliver an innovative play area for the whole community.
Representatives from Park View 4 U were presented with the Award at a special reception at Downing Street.
Congratulating Park View 4 U, the Prime Minister said:
This is an excellent example of people seeing something they want to change in their area and taking action to make things happen.
Park View 4 U’s determination and innovation has had a real impact on the lives of young people in the area and led to the creation of a space the whole community can enjoy.
Congratulations to Park View 4 U and all the volunteers and people who worked so hard to create the park. I wish them every success with their future projects.
Accepting the award, Tony Croft Chair of Trustees said:
The Trustees, both past and present, and many volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past eight years to put in place a magnificent facility for the local community and I am especially pleased that their efforts have been acknowledged by the Prime Minister. The Park View 4 U concept is a great example of people from the community coming together and setting their own agenda.
But Park View 4 U’s achievements have not stopped with the community park. The group has now raised enough funding to build on their tremendous success and now has plans to go on and develop some indoor facilities for the area with the recent opening of a cafe/community centre which will provide a hub for many more community groups and projects, as well as help to provide revenue to sustain the park for many years to come.
Cath Powell from Park View 4 U added:
To be recognised by the Prime Minister with a Big Society Award is a wonderful recognition for all the hard work that has gone into making our vision into a reality.
We set out to provide a few new swings for our local park. In 9 years we haven’t only built an amazing 3 Generational Park, but we have built a new, friendlier community.
However the most exciting part of our project is about to begin, having just opened our new cafe and community centre, we now have a base from where we can work alongside other organisations to deliver programs and activities for the whole community.
The new community centre will enable the group to reach out to all sections of the community allowing them to access a varied programme of events, training, workshops and volunteering opportunities delivered by partner groups/organisations to further their development, improve their life skills and help build a stronger community.
Read more: Park View 4 U