Following a successful grant funding bid, plans have now been approved for an exciting new PlayZone in Grant Thorold Park.
The PlayZone Programme is an exciting investment programme aimed at tackling inequalities in physical activity and access to facilities. Its aim is to focus on funding community-led spaces, with an emphasis on refurbished safe and accessible mini pitches that will allow priority groups to be more active.
The Grant Thorold ‘PlayZone’ multi-use games area (MUGA) will deliver the full refurbishment of the existing tarmacked sports area in the park, and will include basketball hoops, benches, goals, fencing and LED floodlighting.
In 2022, a consortium of local representatives and stakeholders gathered to consider applications for PlayZone facilities across areas of Grimsby, Cleethorpes, and Immingham. The focus was on areas where people may face barriers in being physically active, opportunities for women and girls, and people with long-term health conditions and disabilities, something the Football Foundation was keen to have addressed in the application.
A series of engagement exercises has helped the design process of the PlayZone, such as surface type, line markings and equipment, and how the smaller details would fit with the wider requirements of the project and the local community.
Sites in Immingham and East Marsh were considered before identifying relevant groups with a potential interest in the facility’s use. North East Lincolnshire Council began conversations with community groups to establish local demand, and carried out a survey across the borough. From there, the process was narrowed down until the site at Grant Thorold Park was deemed a great fit for the project, which then progressed to the current planning application.
Dean Evison, PlayZone Programme Officer, said: “PlayZone will have line marking for football and basketball games, and we have also seen requests for other activities, such as outdoor exercise classes.
“The PlayZone pitch is approximately 30 by 20 metres, so not for affiliated competitions. The development is around supporting recreational football and a range of other sports. The idea is to get people into activities, and to engage the local community. The emphasis is on ‘free to use’ community access, with a booking system to ensure fairness and safety. PlayZone will also offer the opportunity for more formal sessions to be held, where groups can book for a small fee.”
The project will be funded with 75% of the total cost from the Football Foundation, with the remaining 25% from NELC funding sources. This includes grant funding from the Safer Streets project. The PlayZone development is scheduled to take place during 2024 and further information will follow as timeframes for construction works are confirmed.
Councillor Hayden Dawkins, portfolio holder for culture, heritage, and the visitor economy, said: “The Grant Thorold PlayZone will be a fantastic refurb of an old play area, and we look forward to it being well used by the local community. It will provide people of all ages with a quality and modern facility, and the opportunity to take part in a whole range of activities, supporting people to be more active, more often.”
The money for the scheme has been awarded as a grant from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via the Football Foundation.