Kettering's Wicksteed Park to be transformed

The historic pavilion
Thanks to National Lottery players, the historic heart of Wicksteed Park will be regenerated, showcasing its heritage, and enhancing the enjoyment of play in line with the original vision of its founder, Charles Wicksteed.

Located near Kettering in Northamptonshire, it was originally established as a safe and free park for the families and children of Kettering, a philanthropic gesture by engineer Charles Wicksteed during the First World War.

It was one of the UK's first leisure parks and continues to be operated by the Wicksteed Charitable Trust.

In the past, lack of funding has prevented the park from reaching its full potential as a heritage and learning resource for the local community and the large number of visitors who use the park.

Now, thanks to National Lottery players, the historic heart of the park will be transformed, showcasing its heritage, and enhancing the enjoyment of play in line with the original vision of its founder, Charles Wicksteed.

The @Play project will invite people to learn about the heritage of the park and the importance of play. The project will complement the restoration of the central piazza and precinct which will provide an improved welcome to the park. A substantial education and learning programme will also be delivered in the form of inventive events and activities.

“This latest investment, made possible by National Lottery players, builds on a previous HLF project to restore the lake and we are delighted to support the park’s latest exciting project”Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “As one of the UK’s first leisure parks Wicksteed has a particularly interesting history, and has played a significant role for the local community over the years. This latest investment, made possible by National Lottery players, builds on a previous HLF project to restore the lake and we are delighted to support the park’s latest exciting project.”

Oliver Wicksteed, Chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, said: “Our project builds on the extraordinary legacy of Charles Wicksteed and extends beyond the recreation park he created. As an entrepreneur and innovator Charles was also an inventor and respected successful engineer. The @Play project not only secures this legacy but creates new opportunities to engage both existing and future generations with the park and its place within the local community and the history of play.” 

This announcement follows the fantastic news that both Northamptonshire County Council and Kettering Borough Council have also confirmed funding support for the project.

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