A project to transform Birkenhead's Ilchester Park in the Wirral into a green, well-used community space is progressing well, with the completion of several new paths.
The network of new paths connecting communities and local facilities across the park have been laid to provide easy access and to enable everyone to enjoy the park, whatever the weather or time of year.
The paths are constructed to be fully accessible and free draining.
To complement the work, wildflower meadows and spring bulbs are being planted this autumn by local school children and community play groups. Small climbing boulders have also been positioned to act as stepping stones and occasional seating around the path network.
The project will see an overall investment of around £180,000 in the park by 2015. The work is being coordinated by The Mersey Forest.
The new paths and other parts of the project are being funded by The Veolia Environmental Trust, who have contributed £67,000 to the project through the Landfill Communities Fund. This vital source of funding lets waste companies hold back part of their Landfill Tax bill and use it to support community and environmental projects.
When it started planning the improvements, The Mersey Forest undertook a significant consultation to gauge views on the plans for the project. Local people and partner organisations, including the North Birkenhead Development Trust and Wirral Council, were consulted through meetings, celebration events, questionnaires, and displays.
There was overwhelming support for the project.
Ben Greenaway, Green Streets Coordinator at The Mersey Forest, says, "It's great news that the paths are complete. They'll mean everyone will be able to enjoy the revamped park, including people using mobility scooters and wheelchairs, children with scooters and bikes, as well as parents and carers with pushchairs."
The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds, "I am very pleased that these improvements mean that full use of the park will be achieved, where before access was limited to a central play area. The whole community can soon enjoy a more environmentally diverse park, and engage in more incidental activities throughout the year"