JM Environmental worked with Ipswich Borough Council who were the recipients a of £3.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for the Holywells 'Parks for People' restoration project.
The Borough Council submitted the "Parks For People" bid to regenerate one of the town's hidden gems to conserve and enhance the park's unique heritage as well as provide more attractions for visitors. The HLF grant was supplemented by funding from the Friends of Holywells Park and by Ipswich Borough Council.
Among the improvements made possible by the grant were a visitor centre in the Stable Block, the restoration of the Orangery, an open-air theatre space, better access and new toilets. The funding enabled a series of events and activities to take place within the park that encourage its increased use by a wider and more diverse audience.
The grant, along with the Friends donation and the Borough's funding, ensured that the Stable Block was renovated and converted into a vibrant visitor centre, with a reception, café, education and function space. The Orangery was refurbished as a multi-function area that can be used for exhibitions, talks, meetings and functions etc. The existing walled garden was be upgraded with a performance area that will be used for small scale theatre, dance, school and community groups.
A new toilet facility and kiosk has been provided adjacent to the play area. Other areas of the park that have been improved are: Provision for park staff and volunteer facilities in the leaf yard; Inhibiting entrances have been improved and made more welcoming; New and refurbished footpaths around the park allow greater accessibility; New CCTV provides greater security; New benches and seating; Interpretation panels of the parks heritage and environmental features; New wellbeing trails with appropriate equipment. A new piece of electronic play equipment has been installed which is aimed at the teenagers who use the park. Additionally, a series of activities and events will be organised over a four year period that will increase the number of visitors to the park, introduce people to the park that wouldn't otherwise use it, help conserve and enhance the heritage of the park, and increase the number of volunteers whilst adding to their knowledge and skills.