A South Lakeland community group is celebrating after being given a major council funding boost.
A project to restore a Windermere lakeside park to its former glory has received two lots of funding from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) worth a total of £150,000.
The Millerground Enhancement Group, led by Windermere and Bowness Civic Society, is looking to transform the 39-acre Millerground site as a spectacular natural asset for residents and visitors to South Lakeland.
The group has heard that it has been successful in receiving a £50,000 grant from SLDC’s Locally Important Projects (LIPs) fund, and a further £100,000 has been committed from the council’s capital fund.
Funding for the LIPs scheme is raised from the New Homes Bonus, which is money paid by central Government to the council based on the number of new homes built or brought back into use.
The money awarded to the Millerground Enhancement Group will be used for a variety of projects, including improving footpaths and creating a new playground.
“The major focus point will be the new adventure playground,” said Millerground Enhancement Group chair John Saunders.
“The idea is to provide an area that’s accessible for all sorts of people of all ages. We want to make it a place for youngsters and their families.
“The money will also be spent on creating a new picnic area, as well as improved access to the beach and the lake and adding and restoring pathways.
“We want to make it as wheelchair friendly as possible,” said Mr Saunders.
“It will be a wonderful natural rest area between Windermere and Bowness, which is something we don’t really have at the moment.
“It’s such good news for our community, everyone is very pleased and very excited.”
The council is going to work with the project group to develop a plan for the refurbishments, which are due to start next spring.
Millerground is one of the oldest public access points on the lake and one of the few remaining areas on the east side of the lake within walking distance of Windermere that is still free and open for all the community to use.
It offers a peaceful natural environment and many years ago was routinely enjoyed by residents and visitors offering stunning views of the lake and recreational family-friendly facilities for boating, bathing and walks and picnics.
Over the years it has become run-down and overgrown and many well used features have become eroded.
The Millerground site is owned by SLDC, Rayrigg Meadow Trust and the National Trust and all the landowners are supporting the project, which is also backed by Windermere Town Council.
Windermere Applethwaite and Troutbeck SLDC ward councillor Ben Berry has been an active supporter of the Millerground project.
Councillor Berry said: “I have worked with this project from the beginning and it is amazing to see how the hard work of local people has paid off in improving our area. It makes me very proud to represent Windermere.
“From the first £50 that I gave to the group to plant bluebells to now receiving this £150,000 from South Lakeland District Council, I know every penny will be well spent. Thank you to everyone involved and for the support from the council.”