A COMMUNITY group is hoping to raise £88,000 to reinvigorate a dilapidated Stacksteads park.

Stacksteads Countryside Park Group and Proffitts CIC, a Valley-based community regeneration organisation, have so far raised half of the funds needed to carry out the work on Western Park.

The partners want to turn the ‘awful mess’ into a haven for families and older children, replete with a multi-use sports area, a climbing frame, a zip line, and a community garden.

Trees will be pruned to prevent fallen leaves making the play area slippy, and higher fences will be erected to stop balls going onto the main road, both common problems for youngsters using the park.

The group has been granted £30,000 by Lancashire Environmental Fund, £10,000 by social landlord Together Housing, and Proffitts and Stacksteads Countryside Park Group are each giving £1,000 to the project.

Proffitts are now approaching Biffa Award, a national scheme that distributes grants to community projects in areas where residents have to live nearby landfill sites, to make up the other £44,000. If the partners are not granted the outstanding funds, the money they have already raised will be withdrawn.

However, Proffitts are hopeful the project will receive a Biffa grant because of residents’ proximity to Rakehead tip.

Liz Hinchliffe, a community development worker at Proffitts, said: “It’s very competitive to get funds, but you have to be in it to win it and I’m quite confident.

“We held a consultation in the park on a cold January day last year and 30 families came and gave us their thoughts.

“They were all very keen to improve the park and we’ve had no negative feedback.

“Rossendale Council’s policies include encouraging healthy lifestyles and tackling youth nuisance, both of which will improved with this project.”

Coun Jackie Oakes, of Stacksteads Countryside Park Group, said: “The funding we have been offered is conditional on us getting the balance by April so there's a lot of pressure now, but we'll get there.”

If the funding bid is successful, further public consultations will be held so people can share their ideas on what they would like to see in the park.