A Lake District community is celebrating after British Cycling awarded £25,000 to secure its hopes of a new park cycling track.
Work is due to start after Easter on the new cycling circuit at Queen’s Park in Windermere, better known to generations of locals as The Rec.
The project will be the fruition of three years’ tireless dedication by community group Windermere Park For All, working with South Lakeland District Council officers.
The group of local parents has been fundraising since 2017 to improve the popular council-owned park for future generations, and the pump track will mark stage one of a major overhaul at The Rec.
The undulating circuit of rollers, hills and camel humps has been designed to appeal to riders of any age and ability, not just teens on BMXs, as cyclists “pump” their bikes along using up-and-down body movements rather than pedalling or pushing.
Once the track is completed, contractors will make a start on stage two of the £170,000 project by replacing the existing play area with more exciting and inclusive new features, including a kick-about zone, improved landscaping, wild play and picnic areas
The cost of the pump track has been met by donations from the Dulverton Trust, the Holehird Trust and English Lakes Hotels.
Council officers have contributed their time and expertise, and the project’s delivery was sealed by £25,000 match-funding from British Cycling’s #PlacesToRide capital grants programme.
British Cycling is the sport’s national governing body which set the gold standard for Olympic and Paralympic success.
Places to Ride has made £15 million available to ensure a lasting legacy from the 2019 UCI Road World Championships held in Yorkshire, and is a partnership between British Cycling, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and Sport England.
Councillor Ben Berry, a Windermere ward councillor and chairman of Windermere Park for All, said: “It’s just going to bring a whole new level of enjoyment to Queen’s Park.
“What we as a committee wanted to do was breathe fresh life particularly into the playground. It’s well enjoyed now but could be so much better.
“The committee that’s been incredibly hard working and dedicated to this is made up of mothers of young families, myself and a young man that loves BMXing.
“We have the support of Windermere Town Council, funders and South Lakeland District Council.
“It’s been great to see the community get behind it and I’m incredibly excited to see it come to fruition and get to use it myself with my family. We literally couldn’t have done it without the support of SLDC and the expertise of the officers involved.”
Local mum Amy Thompson, publicity officer for Windermere Park For All, said: We named our project Windermere Park for All because this is at the heart of what we want to achieve.
“The new play facilities will cater to a wider range of age groups and physical abilities and will be for the use of the whole community.
“The park’s central location in the heart of town makes it easily accessible to the majority of residents and the new play areas will be an important free resource for local families.
“Being active has huge benefits on people’s mental and physical wellbeing, especially when this is outdoors. The need for easily accessible outdoor space has become even more apparent over the last year with the restrictions due to COVID-19.
“We hope work on building the pump track will start in late April, with the playground installation to follow in June.”
Councillor Philip Dixon, SLDC portfolio holder for customer and commercial services and people, added: “We want it to be a great place for kids to go and have creative outdoor fun rather than just sitting at home in front of a screen.
“SLDC officers have worked really well with the committee to put in place something that will really enrich the community.
“What is a good place to go now will become an even better place with all these added features. I cannot stress enough what a fantastic place Queen’s Park is.”
Once the playground and pump track are complete, Windermere Park For All plans to embark on another round of fundraising for stage three – revamping the skate park.
Councillor Berry said: “The skate park was built when I was 12 years old and I’m 33 now. People in my class helped to fundraise and put it together. It’s well-enjoyed now but could be so much better.”
If anyone would like to donate or help with future fundraising, contact Amy Thompson via the group’s websiteor visit the Facebook page Windermere Park For All.