Two of Derry’s best known celebrities have endorsed Brooke Park’s bid to win the Heritage section of the National Lottery’s 25th Birthday Awards.
Through their Twitter accounts, Nadine Coyle and Roma Downey have encouraged the public to vote online for the park to claim the title which will be announced live on BBC1 in November and carries a £10,000 cash prize.
Brooke Park is vying for the title with ten other projects around the UK who have benefitted from funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Singer Nadine described it as a “beautiful park” while actress and bestselling author Roma spoke of her fond memories of Brooke Park from your childhood.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged the public to public to support the campaign by tweeting the hashtag #NLABrookePark or by visiting the website lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/.
“I am delighted that two of the city’s highest profile figures have offered their support for Brooke Park’s campaign to win the Heritage section of the National Lottery awards,” she said.
“Brooke Park has been an essential hub for the public since it was reopened to the public three years ago, offering a wide range of leisure facilities, children’s playpark, a horticultural training centre and the stunningly located Gwyn’s Pavilion Café.
“This is an opportunity for the public to acknowledge this significant addition to community life in the city by voting for the park through twitter or by visiting the lottery good causes website.”
The history of Brooke Park dates back to 1840, when it was originally the site of a boys orphanage before it became a municipal park in 1901.
It was used for recreation and civic events by both sides of the community, in Derry, Northern Ireland, before falling into neglect in the 1970s and ‘80s.
In 2015, the park closed for a two-year £5.6 million regeneration project, including £1.5 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, reopening in 2017.
The regeneration vision was developed and agreed with the local community and the works carried out included the restoration of the gate lodge, a listed statue, boundary walls and entrances, the historic pond was reinstated, and extensive areas of ornamental planting were reintroduced.
As well as restoration, new facilities include a cafe and an all-weather floodlit football pitch, a play garden and a horticulture training centre.
The level of investment in the park, both in terms of design, provision and ongoing support, means it will continue to be a popular destination for the whole community for decades to come.
It now attracts in the region of 200,000 visitors each year.
More than 565,000 National Lottery grants have been awarded since 1994, the equivalent of around 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district helping to strengthen communities, deliver sporting success, protect the environment, unleash local creative talent and look after the elderly and those at risk.
Votes can be cast at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs from 9am on 24 July until midnight on 21 August.