On Wednesday 16 August, we opened our new £50,000 bespoke adventure play area as part of the Let's Play! at Anderton Boat Lift project.
The play area, created by ‘Flights of Fantasy Creative Play Ltd' of Sandringham, Norfolk, integrates elements of the lift in the design such as, the lift itself, a bridge, control house and mooring area and cleverly uses blue surfacing to suggest water. Almost 40% bigger than the previous play area, it boasts fully accessible areas suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
The ‘Let’s Play! at Anderton Boat Lift’ project is also be the starting point for a new trail that leads our visitors to the adjacent Anderton Nature Park. We hope the new trail will encourage children and their families to extend their visit to the area and enjoy the nature that is free and within easy walking distance.
Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale and Rev David Felix, Chair of the Rural Growth Board and the West Cheshire & Warrington LEADER Local Action Group unveiled our bespoke play area, Mr Amesbury said "The Anderton Boat Lift is one of Northwich’s leading industrial heritage sites attracting over 120,000 visitors a year. It is fitting that this pinnacle of high Victorian engineering is doing everything it can to engage and attract young audiences. This imaginatively-designed play area with nature trail is going to be a real asset for this special heritage site that really embodies so much of Northwich’s proud heritage."
Our exciting new playground was made possible thanks to a £20,000 grant from the LEADER programme; a unique source of funding for rural areas across Cheshire, Warrington and the Dunham Massey area, managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council. LEADER takes a community-led approach to delivering European funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, with decisions being made by a Local Action Group (LAG) formed of locally-appointed representatives from the private, public and third sectors.
Timothy Turner, our attraction manager said: "Anderton Boat Lift & Visitor Centre is an activity hub. The grant recognises Anderton as a place to learn, relax and play in a stimulating environment; to adventure onto the river and canal and connect up with other places to visit and explore the surrounding countryside."
As a result of the new playground, we've been able to create three new permanent job roles so our visitor centre can extend its season and remain open every weekend throughout the year.