Onchan Park receive funding for sports facilities in the heart of the community

After 4 long years of community support, consultations, events and funding applications the Friends of Onchan Park have finally succeeded in securing funds to begin the first phase of transformation on Onchan Park also known as Oakdale Road Recreation Ground. From the early days of saving the park from being sold for building development, the friends group and the local community have worked to raise funds to create a space to meet the communities’ needs.

“This is wonderful news,” Chair of the friends group Alison Pritchard commented, “It has truly been a full community effort with support from primary and secondary schools, playgroups, local and county councillors, local businesses and the community all supporting the project with funding and involvement in events.”

The recent funding will provide a multi-use games area on the disused court space, two table tennis tables and disabled access for all. FCC Environment have approved funding of £74,450 towards the project with Gedling Borough Council providing a further £8,003 towards the funds raised by the community to make it happen. Once finished, there are plans to run cricket, table tennis, basketball and keep fit sessions.

Work on the park is planned to begin in December 2020 with the official opening expected in early spring of next year.

Thank you to all the supporters of Onchan Park, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Committee Sept 2019


New Year 2020 Update

Dear Supporters and Friends of Onchan Park

As the year draws to a close we wanted to keep you up to date with what’s been happening in 2019.

We haven’t held an event this year for two reasons;

1 – The green has been in such a poor state that it hasn’t been usable due to the holes in the ground.

2 – We haven’t had the time to organise events as we have been working very hard on finalising bids and applications for the MUGA; Table Tennis and disabled access and with trying to get match funding for bids approved by Gedling Borough Council.

The good news is that GBC seem to have had a change of heart towards Onchan Park in the last month.

GBC agreed to fund close to £5,000 to match with £70,000 that we are hoping to raise through funding applications with Sport England and FCC (formerly funding provided by waste recycling scheme).

We also tried for months to get council approval and support to resurface the old bowling green.  In the last month they have agreed to support us and offered £6,492 to support our application for a further £25,000 funding from the ‘Pocket Parks’ government fund.

The refurbishment of the green will include removing the conifers between the grassed area on Onchan Avenue side of the park and the bowling green, raising the level of the old bowling green to join the 2 areas together, creating one large green space for general play, 5-a-side, ball games etc and for event and community space for the future.  Mature trees will be planted to make up for removing the conifers.

We have, this week, finally submitted all our bids and will await news in the New Year.

This leaves us to work on getting funding for refurbishment of the play equipment in 2020, and finally, the following year we will address the issue of what the community wants for the pavilion.

Thank you for your continued support for Onchan Park.  We look forward to having celebratory events on the park in 2020.

If anyone would like to join our committee and have an active role in supporting the development of Onchan Park, please get in touch.  We are always open to welcoming new committee members.

Happy New Year to all our supporters.

Alison, Maria, Terry, Pia, Valeria and Sheelagh (Friends of Onchan Park)


Paths made safe at Onchan Park

The hot dry weather in the summer caused the clay soil to dry out and contract which caused cracks to open up in some of the paths at Onchan Park. Did you notice them? The Friends of Onchan committee raised this issue with Gedling Borough parks department at one of our regular meetings and we stated our concern about this health and safety issue.

path before

The area was cordoned off and remedial works took place. The paths are now safe and completely level.

path after

Thanks to Gedling Borough for fixing the paths. For more information about Gedling’s parks click here.


Survey at St John’s Playgroup

Survey from St John’s playgroup Summer 2019

Friends of Onchan Committee visited the last day of the summer term at St John’s Playgroup on 18th July 2019 to survey the parents about their use of Onchan Park and how they would like it to be developed in the future. Surprisingly one person was unaware of the location of the park- she had never visited it and did not know that it was only a few hundred meters down the road from St Johns playgroup.


Do you use the park?

  • Yes – 14
  • No – 3


Reasons for not using the park

  • No children
  • Not well kept – too much rubbish on the park
  • Would use if it was tidy
  • Only just realised there is a park


What you’d like to see on the park

  • Children’s play equipment (8) – Slide; swings; roundabouts; zip line; floor trampoline; see saw;
  • Toilets (7)
  • Ground is uneven, level footpaths
  • Cycle track
  • Coffee shop (6)
  • Improved cleaning
  • Outdoor gym on bowling green
  • Basketball area
  • Family activities community events – craft days; fun days; talent shows
  • Summer clubs for kids
  • Exercise classes
  • Pavilion in use
  • Picnic benches (2)
  • Sensory equipment and trails
  • Football pitches


The Friends of Onchan park committee are saddened that once again the condition of the park is putting people off. We bring this up at our regular meetings with the parks department officers. We would also encourage people to use the Gedling Borough “Report It” portal to report any issues with rubbish, dog poo, vandalism etc at Onchan. The link to the portal is here.


Information Stall– St John’s Summer Fair 2019

Community Consultation at St. John’s Church – Information Stall at Summer Fair on 22nd of June 2019

FoOP had an information stall at St. John’s Church. Initially, Terry and I were at the stall. Later on, Alison and Sheelagh came as well.

The aim was to show the community our work and plans for the future. We have spoken to members of the public about our work and wanted to have some feedback. It was a good way to promote our park. We publicized our AGM on this occasion.

It took a while until people came to us, because we didn’t sell any food and drinks. We “only” had to offer information about the park. Later, we approached the people a bit more purposeful and the result was that kids and a few adults came to us with some feedback. They were writing it on post-it notes. One lady didn’t know that the park existed.

What would you like to see on the park?

  • cricket green for playing cricket
  • birds houses / tables
  • nature plants
  • “Nice” plants
  • white lines sprayed on the grass (to play football)
  • picnic tables
  • “A see-saw please”
  • “Place to lock our bikes”
  • “Fantastic idea MUGA TT” (table-tennis)


“Very good idea” (the suggestions)
“What a wonderful park”

Two people complained that the park is dirty and covered with broken glass

P Alimonti, 9th of September 2019


2019 AGM- Update from the Chair

Since the 2018 AGM, we have worked so hard and we are making progress, unfortunately, little progress is visible to the community, because we’ve focused on the Sport England bid and moving forward with MUGA, disabled access and Table Tennis Tables project. We’ve upped our game with the council and diverted our time from fundraising events to active applications for funding. We’ve also pushed for work on the Green (improvements to the surface) and consolidated our 5 year plan – MUGA, Green, Playground, Pavilion.

We started compiling the specification for MUGA, TT Tables and DDA footpath with Jane Richardson at Gedling Borough Council in August 2018. The specification allowed us to request soft quotes and feed into the bid for Sport England. This year we upped our meetings with council and developed a portfolio of evidence. Evidence includes: 5 year plan, donations summary, community consultations, letters of support from schools, clubs, councillors, police, Mr Coaker MP, medical practices, etc.  Work is still on-going.

We’ve gathered support for Groups Involvement:

  • Wildcats Basketball Club – provision of outreach sessions
  • Sycamore Table Tennis Club – provision of outreach sessions
  • Cricket Nott’s cricket board (Street Cricket)– provision of cricket equipment and training for a community volunteer
  • U3A – Still working on

Match funding:

  • September applied to Aviva Community Fund to resurface the green – unsuccessful
  • LIS funding to resurface the Green – considered part of Gedling maintenance so we did not apply.
  • Applications have been submitted to Building societies Nottingham & Skipton – Spring 2019
  • Co-op application for Table Tennis bats and balls – Summer 2019
  • Jigsaw Foundation/Gedling Homes – we will resubmit the bid in the Spring 2020


Contact with Gedling Borough Council

  • 4 – 6 weekly meetings with Jane Richardson and Fiona Hextall to progress the project
  • CIL funding little prospect, feedback from Lewis Widdowson
  • Resurfacing bowling green Melvyn Cryer – 2 quotes -£3k seeding £10k turfing
  • Freedom of information requests GBC getting somewhere – latest is
    “The Council is usually minded to match fund successful funding bids”
  • Having to contact Highways to ask for clearing paths, continually having to contact GBC over maintenance – grass cutting – litter.

Community Involvement

  • Meetings open to all and published on website.
  • Publicity from BBC Inside Out program – September 2018
  • Spooktacular event – October 2018
  • Local door-to-door survey for Sport England bid (residents’ consent for MUGA)- March 2019
  • Stall at St John’s Church Summer Fair -Community consultation – June 2019
  • St John’s Playgroup ‘Last Day” – consult parents at playgroup – July 2019.
  • No summer community event at the park
  • Tried to establish contact with community groups to support development of the pavilion, put on hold as minimal interest at this stage – We visited Eco-house/ Passive – St Ann’s Allotments.


Funds update

Friends of Onchan Park are very grateful to our local councillors for generously donating from their discretionary funds. Paul Wilkinson, Jim Creamer, Nicki Brooks and Errol Henry have supported Onchan Park activities since the very beginning of the campaign to save the park. Their support has continued up to the present day task of developing the facilities.
Local Gedling Borough councillors Paul and Nicki judged the pavilion art competition in 2017. Here is a link to the original winning artwork.
Nottinghamshire County councillors Jim and Errol presented a cheque at our Summer Fun Day in 2018. Jim+Errol+ Alison Summer fun cheque

We have also received funds from local businesses:

  • AW Lymn Foundation,
  • The Inn at the Bank in Netherfield
  • Lindley’s Auto Centre on Oakdale road.

Nottingham City Transport also contributed to the Pavilion Art project when they bought paint for Dak and Dash to complete the artworks. We were so grateful when NCT agreed to support the pavilion project – read about it here.
The Aviva Community Fund donated £500 when the Table Tennis project was a finalist in the awards in 2018. Read about this exciting news here.
We have also received donations from kind members of the public. Anyone can donate via the ‘Friends of’ page using paypal or send a cheque to the Treasurer – details on the Foop page.
Currently, Friends of Onchan Park are working with the council to prepare funding applications to Sport England and other bodies to fund the MUGA, Table Tennis and Disabled Access Path project. Our research using the survey and petition identified a community needs for a multi-use games area, table tennis for use by all ages and abilities.

Watch this space, we are hoping to be able to announce some more good news soon.


Pavilion Project Update

The pavilion project is still in the very early stages of planning. Find out what the Friends of Onchan Park committee have been doing to get this project started.

Interest from local groups

Friends of Onchan Park have been contacting local groups  who may wish to use the building in the future to put on events or run clubs or groups. Fitness instructors, childminders, a church youth worker have all expressed an interest. In particular local nutritionist, Louise Carney-Stillie, is planning to host a women’s wellbeing group to discuss health and nutrition. Have a look at her website here: www.nutritionwithlouise.co.uk/

Pavilion Floor Plans

Terry and Alison measured the existing rooms inside the pavilion and Terry drew up this detailed plan. You can see from the plan that the main hall is 6.6m x 5.5m. However, there is potential to increase this by removing some internal walls and extending out to the porch.

2019 01 pavilion plan

What would you suggest to improve the layout and functionality of the Onchan Park Pavilion?

St Ann’s Visitor Centre Site Visit

We were invited to tour St Ann’s Allotments Visitor Centre by the Site Tenancies and Gardener Engagement Officer, Nicola Hinton. Alison, Pia and Maria  inspected all the eco-friendly features of the building such as – green roof, rain-water harvesting and under-floor heating. They were shown the security shutters, internal layout and handy lockable storage cupboards. There were loads of other useful features to think about when we come to re-design Onchan Park pavilion.




Update- MUGA , Table Tennis and Access gate and path

You might be thinking that Onchan Park looks unchanged compared to this time last year. Here is a quick update about what has been going on behind the scenes.

Update: what have we done already?

We set up a survey to ask people what they wanted to see on the park in 2016. The results of this and our petition showed that local people were passionate about saving the park and pavilion and that they wanted to see a community hub and refurbished facilities. You can still read all the reasons the people wanted to save the park at the Change.org website.  At the Summer Fun Day in 2017 we asked people to vote on which facility they would like to see developed first, the overwhelming winner was the Multi-Use-Games-Area or MUGA. Have a look at our plans from back in August 2017.

During 2017 and 2018 the Friends of Onchan Park have acted on this information and have held several meetings with parks development officers at Gedling Borough Council to put together a specification document. We have also met with several different contractors on site to assist them in putting together a quotation for the work that needs to be done.

As a result of all this work we have information from the community showing the need to redevelop the MUGA, install table tennis tables and provide a new pedestrian gate and access path. We have a specification and plan drawings that allowed us to get four quotes from contractors.

What are the next steps?

The next steps will be to secure funding for this project and consultation with local residents is a big part of this process. We discussed this at our last public meeting in May 2018, the minutes are here if you want to read them. If you live within sight of Onchan Park, we will be visiting you soon to talk about our plans with you. Once we know that everyone is happy with the plans then we can start applying for funding from WREN, Sport England or one of the National Lottery Charities. Once funding has been secured, we can work with the Council to award the contract to the successful bidder.

We are aiming to be awarded funds to be able to transform the MUGA, install table tennis tables and a new pedestrian gate and access path for pushchairs and wheelchairs. We also want to keep the park’s neighbours happy and we can change our plans to ensure that this happens. Above all we want to create a park that we can be proud of that is used by lots of different people to enjoy being in nature and getting active.

We hope that this little update will help you to understand everything that is going on with the park. Everyone is welcome to come along to the public meetings or to offer help with events or activities at the committee meetings.


Aviva Funds

Vote for our project in the Aviva Community Fund!

Voting opened on 23rd October and the deadline is 20th November 2018. We need as many votes as we can to show support for our bid to raise money to re-surface the greenspace at Onchan Park. Go online to register at community-fund.aviva.co.uk. Everyone gets 10 votes for their favourite projects. To find ours search for Onchan Park in the Health and Wellbeing category. Projects within this category should aim to make people feel better on a number of levels, improving physical, mental and emotional health and boosting social interaction. The top three projects with the most votes will go to the final judging stages and we will find out early next year if we will receive any funding.

Please support us once again by giving us your votes to support the development of Onchan Park for the whole community.

Have a look at our project page here. In recent years the old bowling green has been used as a green space for community events and as a play area for local children and teenagers. The surface of the bowling green has degraded and is full of holes and is surrounded by gullies. The Friends of Onchan Park group are looking to regenerate this area with hard-wearing grass which is fit for purpose, to fill in the gullies and re-establish the green space to include suitable, inclusive access so the area can be used by all groups.

Onchan Greenspace

Update 14/12/18: Unfortunately, in spite of all the support and votes that we received, we didn’t make it to the final of the Aviva Community Fund this year.