Park Life: “The amazing opportunities at Wepre Park give me a sense of peace.”
8th March 2019
Connah’s Quay volunteer with learning difficulties talks about the joy of being given the chance to work at the ancient woodland and Country Park in his hometown.
Andrew Wilson, who has learning difficulties, says volunteering at National Lottery-funded Wepre Park brings him a ‘great sense of peace’.
For the past twenty years, Andrew has played a key role in maintaining the park’s 160 acres of green space for members of the public to use and enjoy.
Wepre Park is a beautiful green space nestled in the heart of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire which includes a woodland walk, waterfall, nature trail, playground and Ewloe Castle. The unique setting also has two football pitches, a fishing pool, a skatepark and a visitor centre.
An award of £661,500 thanks to National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund has transformed and restored Wepre Park and has given the local community a natural environment to enjoy. The funding has enabled the refurbishment of the Old Hall Gardens, an extension to the visitor centre, improved access to the waterfall and brook and easier access to the wetland habitats and castle.
The park is particularly popular with dog walkers, families and runners and is protected as a site of special scientific interest because it is home to wildlife protected by law including badgers and the great crested newt.
Andrew said: “Being part of the team of volunteers at Wepre Park has made a huge difference to me and I love being able to help out in my own community. I’ve learned so many new skills like how to prune trees properly and people are always commenting on how clean and tidy the park is.
“If I wasn’t here I would probably be in my house and there’s nothing better for me than being out in the open air, being part of the community and I love being outdoors. I find this place incredibly peaceful with the birds singing and my favourite part of Wepre Park is the red rock.”
Steve Davies from Penyffordd volunteers alongside Andrew and has seen how vital National Lottery funding has been to improve the facilities at Wepre Park over the years. Steve said: “So many different members of the public use the park from mothers and babies, to park runners and groups of people with special needs and, in the summer, the park is full of families having picnics and enjoying the gardens.
“We’ve seen a decrease in anti-social behaviour and I think it always surprises people who aren’t from Flintshire as it’s usually thought of as quite an industrial area. There’s in fact plenty of natural environment here with the woodlands and the gardens. The National Lottery funding, without doubt, has vastly improved the facilities and as volunteers, we love being outdoors and maintaining the wonderful premises we have here.”
In Wrexham and Flintshire alone, the National Lottery has awarded around £101m to over 4,600 good causes since it was launched 25 years ago. Charities, community groups, grassroots sports projects, arts organisations, athletes, film makers, and heritage sites have reaped rewards from the funding.
Keep an eye in local media and on National Lottery Good Causes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the hashtags #LotteryLovesWrexham #LotteryLovesFlintshire #Chwedlau’rLoteri over the next month for more inspirational stories like Wepre Park which illustrates how National Lottery funding has helped to change the lives of people in Wrexham and Flintshire for the better.
Notes to editors
National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes across the UK, funding a wide and varied range of good causes – they support local communities, build world-class facilities and visitor destinations, power sports teams, protect the environment, unleash creative talent, look after the elderly and unlock youthful potential. In addition, support from the National Lottery wins Olympic medals and Oscars.
Over £1.75 billion of National Lottery funding has been invested into around 50,000 arts, heritage, sport and community projects in Wales since 1994.