£80,000 grant to help people reclaim their park blighted by anti-social behaviour
- Credit: Archant/VICTORIA PERTUSA
A Norwich park previously blighted by anti-social behaviour has been awarded an £80,000 grant following residents' ambitious efforts to reclaim their space.
Over the years, West End Park, off West End Street near Dereham Road, became infamous for being a well-documented area plagued by drug dealing and violent crime.
But now, thanks to campaigning by those who live in the area, the park has become a much-needed sanctuary and recent recipient of a grant from Norwich City Council.
Toby Batch and wife, Jacqui Mackay, along with their four children, are just one of the local families trying to make the park a safer place.
Eldest son, Tyrnan, 14, gave a presentation to the city council when he was 11 to explain why improvements were needed. His brother Maggy, 11, also went door-to-door with a local councillor and his dad when he was nine years old to collect signatures.
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Mr Batch has lived on nearby Nelson Street for more than 25 years. He said: "It’s very diverse around here and the park is a brilliant place which brings all the people in the area together in one common interest. It's one place people can congregate."
In 2019, members of the Wensum Residents' Association celebrated the area’s changed fortunes by hosting its first community street party and fun day with the park opened for outdoor family activities.
Liam Calvert, chair of the association, said: "If we can get local people to use the park, the nicer the community and environment becomes."
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As well as an investment of £80,000 of Towns Deal funding for the multi-use games area, a further £47,500 has been earmarked to improve issues of anti-social behaviour and create a place for the local community at West End Park.
Councillor Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and well-being at city council, said: "Norwich is ambitious and committed to investing, developing and building on strengths and tackling challenges head-on, to ensure it’s a great city for all. An important part of this is making sure that people have opportunities for leisure, play and exercise and that these areas are as accessible as possible and also tailored to their specific context and address the wider needs of the area and the city."
Neighbouring residents will soon be invited by the city council to give their views on the project.