The Beech Recreation Ground in Sowerby Bridge was a former underused Victorian Park which suffered from a wide range of anti-social behaviour. Use of this once popular park was suddenly in decline and a group of local residents decided it was time to take action. In 2008 ‘Dec the Rec’ was formed to champion the park and make it better for everyone. Working alongside Calderdale Council and Groundwork, the group ran events and started to prepare for funding bids to help turn their aspirations of a new and improved area into a reality.
The hard work from the Dec the Rec team was clear to see, with improvements to fencing and other park infrastructure which helped improve the appearance of the park. But the team knew that there was still a long way to go in achieving their vision. Keen to involve the local community focus is now moving to provide sustained outdoor fitness area and stimulation for a wide range of age groups – an ‘Active Lifestyle Regeneration’.
Consultations with residents helped to shape further regeneration as there was a clear desire to provide facilities for young people which included a BMX track, covered shelter and the opportunity to build on the fitness equipment already installed in Dec the Rec. A sensory garden was also recommended to provide a calm and peaceful environment for visitors to enjoy with approximately 3000 people of all ages to directly benefit from the scheme.
The Beech Rec Active Lifestyle Regeneration is supported by Dec the Rec, Calderdale Council, Groundwork with funding support from the Biffa Award. The changes will create a vibrant and attractive greenspace area and wider benefits will encourage regular physical activity and social interaction.