Family favourite, Waterloo Park, is set to benefit from extra care and repair and have some historic features restored thanks to an innovative partnership between Britannia Enterprises and the council
The partnership will see serving and ex-offenders working alongside the council to maintain and enhance the park. This will include helping with gardening, restoring the park’s iconic benches, keeping the grounds and public toilets clean.
Visitors to the park are already enjoying tasty treats from the social enterprise project that runs the popular Britannia cafés based at the former barracks and The Guildhall, as its vintage food van has been a welcome recent feature.
This summer will also see Britannia Enterprises take over the repair and maintenance of the iconic grade II listed pavilion and its doors flung open for the first time in more than a decade as it prepares to open a full café serving snacks, light lunches, cakes, tea and coffee.
Britannia Enterprises was launched in 2014 to offer in-job mentoring, training, employment and rehabilitation to prisoners with the aim of reducing re-offending rates and has gone from strength-to-strength since.
This major new partnership will not only build on the successful rehabilitation work the Britannia project does but it will also mean a reduction in the amount of capital the council will need to spend on the park in the coming years.
The new partnership is also hoping to develop plans to bring the top floor of the pavilion into use in the longer term.
Roger Ryan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:
“I am absolutely delighted we have managed to broker such an innovative partnership with Britannia Enterprises. This will help it further the important work the social enterprise does in rehabilitating offenders, which is invaluable to the individuals but also the community as a whole.
“More than that, however, it means one of much-loved parks, which play such a vital role in people’s health and well-being, can get significant time and attention invested in them and important iconic features restored to a level that otherwise the council would struggle to afford.”
Davina Tanner OBE, chief executive of Britannia Enterprises said:
“Part of Britannia’s ethos is about supporting the local community. Without it we would not be as successful as we are and so we are thrilled at this new chance to increase and diversify offender engagement while also continuing to support our historic city.
“We plan to maximise the potential of Waterloo Park as an activities and events centre for the local community and for all to enjoy. Part of this will be making sure the café has real community feel, a place where everyone is welcome to enjoy.
In the next couple of weeks, people who live close to the park will find a questionnaire popped through their door asking what sorts activities they’d like to see at the café or park visitors can get a copy from the food van – please share your ideas. ”