Midsomer Norton leisure centre, operated by Dragonfly Leisure, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, is celebrating after being awarded £99,999 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Dragonfly Leisure will use their funding to create a refurbished community space outside the leisure centre at Gullock Tyning, Midsomer Norton, to include picnic benches, a fruit foraging area, a table tennis table and a new children’s play park. The whole project will cost £167,755, with match funding coming from Bath & North East Council Community Infrastructure Levy (£30K), Dragonfly Leisure (£26,756), Midsomer Norton Town Council (£8k) and The Food Forest Project (£3k)

This new National Lottery funding will go towards replacing the old decommissioned outdoor play equipment at the Somer Valley Adventure Play Park and create an open community green space to include sustainable agriculture where local people can harvest their own food for free! In addition, the planting of fruiting trees and shrubs, as well as native trees such as Crab Apple, Silver Birch and Oak trees, will not only create a space for the local community to be at one with nature but help offset carbon emissions as well as create new habitats for wildlife.

“We are thrilled we’ve been able to secure the required funding to refurbish this fantastic community space, and we would like to thank National Lottery players, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Midsomer Norton Town Council and The Food Forest Project for making this a reality” said Matt Wise, Dragonfly Leisure CEO.

Local families can now vote for their favourite play park design. Further details regarding the vote and designs can be found on Dargonfly Leisure’s website: www.dragonflyleisure.co.uk/blog

Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, and Communities at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “This is going to be a brilliant space for the local community. Getting outdoors and enjoying nature is so important for our health and wellbeing, and it’s particularly exciting that people will be able to harvest their own food. I’m delighted that local families will continue to be able to help shape the final design and I look forward to seeing the project coming to fruition.”

Speaking personally, Gordon Mackay, Deputy Mayor Midsomer Norton Town Council said “I’m delighted that the National Lottery have awarded this funding. The leisure centre and play area is a key attraction for our town, it’s one of the reasons I moved here. In addition to providing great new facilities for residents, this will encourage visitors and increase footfall on our High Street too. The Town Council have supported the Leisure Centre previously and I hope they will continue to do so. I can’t wait to take my kids down there for a game of table tennis when the project is complete.”

The designs include everything local families asked for, including:

· Equipment for both preschool and primary-aged children aged one to ten years

· Inclusive play equipment

· A mix of adventurous and traditional play equipment, particularly climbing apparatus, towers and slides.

· Perimeter fencing

· Appropriate surfacing – not woodchip or sand, as these were considered unclean.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund distributes a share of this to projects to support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk