Playground facilities at one of Sheffield’s most popular outdoor spaces were officially reopened today following major redevelopment works.

Works at  Norfolk Heritage Park playground started last December following a decision by Sheffield City Council to invest £1.5 million, to upgrade outdoor facilities in the parts of Sheffield where health needs are the greatest.

The playground has seen an extensive £275,000 makeover, spent on creating a new play area.

The park, which has the rare honour of a Grade 2* listing on English Heritage’s national register of Parks and Gardens and has just been awarded Green Flag status for the tenth year running, now boasts one of the best outdoor play spaces in the city.

Combined funding from the council was spent to revamp the existing play equipment. The older children’s play area has been transformed into a woodland adventure playground with equipment suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities, including disabled users.

The younger children’s play area has been refurbished into a family picnic and play area with additions including a scooter track for young children, a trampoline and musical equipment.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “This week is Love Parks week and what better way to celebrate than the opening of this much loved playground. We know how valuable Norfolk Park is to our local communities and I would like to thank everyone for their patience while we have carried out these refurbishment works.

“Now I’m delighted to say that the new and improved playground is officially open and ready for families across the city to spend the rest of the summer making adventures, staying active and healthy and having lots of fun.

“The funding we have invested in this park has transformed it in to one of the best outdoor playgrounds in the city and provides the perfect location to get young people and families spending more time outside, which we all know has a huge positive impact on mental and physical health.”

Leader of Sheffield City Council and local councilor for Park and Arbourthorne ward, Julie Dore, plus Councillor Jack Scott and Councillor Ben Miskell along with Sheffield City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service have worked with the Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park, local schools and park users to create the exciting new play spaces and were there to officially reopen the facilities today.

Councillor Julie Dore, said: “Norfolk Heritage Park is one of our city’s finest assets and is loved by surrounding communities, as well as residents across Sheffield. In recent years the playground had deteriorated and was in need of some investment.

“The joint efforts of ward councillors, the Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park, local schools and residents have been vital in making this plan come to life and I’d like to thank everyone who’s been involved because it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

“The result is this wonderful new playground, which has contributed to us securing Green Flag award status for the park for tenth year running. I honestly believe we have the most fantastic parks in the country in Sheffield and I also believe this is the best park in Sheffield so that means for me it’s the best park in the country without a shadow of a doubt.  The playground will make a huge difference to our local communities and I’m thrilled and proud to be a part of that.”

The work has been welcomed by the Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park voluntary group who have been involved in the planning and development of the project.

Marge Allen, from Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park said: “The Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park are very committed to the park and we work tirelessly to improve the facilities here. Due to wear and tear the original playground was in desperate need of refurbishment and we were very fortunate to get the money to do this. The new facilities are absolutely fantastic and I know how much people are going to enjoy using them, in fact I wish I was a bit younger so I could have a climb around on them.

“I want to thank everyone in the Friends group, local councillors and council officers plus the schools and local people who’ve supported us. Hopefully the summer weather will continue and the playground will be full of families enjoying the park.”

Major refurbishment of the playground was made possible through funding from a variety of sources including an £80,000 contribution from Public Health Sheffield and £135,000 Section 106 planning gain funding from the nearby Sheffield Housing Company Cutlers View Phase 2 Housing Development.

Norfolk Heritage Park has café and toilet facilities at the Centre in the Park.

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