A park in South Tyneside needs some pals to be in with a chance of a £2.45m revamp.
North Marine Park, in South Shields, has already been given a grant of £194,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but needs to drum up more volunteers for the extra cash to restore the Victorian park back to its former grandeur.
Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader with responsibility for leisure and culture, said one way of showing such support was to join The Friends of North and South Marine Parks.
“The Friends of the Park do an outstanding job in maintaining and enhancing North and South Marine Parks,” he said.
“However, it would be a big help in our bid to secure the next round of funding if we could show that we have public support.
“With only half of the projects getting approval at the second stage of the funding process, it is important that we can show that local people are keen to see this scheme come to fruition. “One key way of demonstrating that is to get involved with the Friends and have your say on how the park should be developed for the future.”
The Friends of North and South Marine Parks already make a major contribution to the upkeep of both parks.
In the eight years since the group was formed members have created a community garden and petanque terrains, organised regular events for members, promoted live music in the bandstand and organised litter picks.
Christine Calvert, chairman of the Friends of North and South Marine Parks, said: “The Friends of the Marine Parks have the interests of the parks at heart and contribute to their upkeep for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
“The Friends work with South Tyneside Borough Council to provide and take part in a range of events and activities to encourage the community to become involved in the protection and promotion of the parks to ensure they flourish in future years.
“We are very excited at the prospects of improvements in the North Marine Park.”
The grant follows on from South Marine Park’s £3.8m Lottery funding revamp grant back in 2009, which was boosted by a further £1.2m from South Tyneside Council.
The scheme for North Marine Park, which will soon be open to consultation, includes creating better links between the park and the transformed Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall, restoring original features such as the grotto and the promenade staircase as well as a children’s play area and café.
Other things under consideration are an events programme and ‘pay to play’ activities such as pitch and putt and bowling.
Work is already ongoing to assess the state of the park’s trees and a survey is underway to find out how people want to see the park developed in the future.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “It is important that we develop the park in ways that will both restore and protect its valuable heritage while helping people to learn more about its history.
“We already know that our parks are very important to people, from improving health and mental wellbeing to connecting to nature.
“We want to retain all those precious assets but also modernise the park to broaden its appeal to for residents and visitors.
“By getting involved as a Friend of the Park, you can have your say on how best this can be achieved.”
Anyone interested in joining the Friends of North and South Marine Parks is asked to contact Gary Frazer on: 0191 424 7855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org