Ford Park Community Group is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. The group formed in 1998 after the County Council announced they were going to sell Ford Park, which had formally been the playing fields of the nearby school.The newly-formed community group were given a 30 year lease, with an option to purchase within seven years. This enabled the group to develop plans to restore the park and to put it on a sustainable footing.
With the help of a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund, the group purchased Ford Park from Cumbria County Council in 2005 and have been in the process of restoration and development for almost 15 years.
Many Ulverstonians remember school days at Ford Park where they learned home economics art and chemistry, as well as motor mechanics and pig husbandry.
The fields of Ford Park are also much-loved by the community as a venue for major events like the finale of the Lantern Procession and Carnival, as well as a place to play a game of football, cricket, frizzby or perhaps just to picnic on a sunny day.
The latest addition to our park is the natural play area, with a pendulum swing, zip wire, five way swing and climbing frame. With additional play furniture for mums, dads and grandparents to sit this has become a popular attraction which is always busy.
Our group is made up of trustees, members, volunteers and supporters from the community. The main objective of the group is to secure the future of Ford Park for the enjoyment of the community.
Recently we secured finance from the Community Builders fund, in the form of a grant and a loan to make major changes to the Coach House which has become the groups new headquarters, whilst the older part of the building is now a busy cafe/bistro open seven days a week. The newly-refurbished first floor function room, with a lift for disabled access, is used by a myriad of community users and groups as well as for social functions.
The large walled Victorian kitchen garden has been restored to it's former glory with a Local Food grant from the Big Lottery, and is tended by our head gardener, Sarah, working alongside our volunteers. The produce from our garden is used to serve the cafe, whilst surplus produce is offered for sale.
The grounds and fields are maintained by our volunteers and members.
The Trust employ a Centre Manager, Volunteer Co-ordinator, a Head Gardener, Caretaker and Cleaner.
The Coach House Cafe is run as a social enterprise and employs a Head Chef and a team of ten staff.
We host numerous events, Car Boot Sales, and other fund-raising activities and meet on Volunteers Days to work in the grounds and enjoy a day out in the fresh air. Anyone can join, you can get as involved as you wish. Some members just like to receive our monthly Newsletters, and come to the AGM, whilst others come along to monthly meetings, volunteer to help at events, work in the grounds or in the kitchen garden.
If you want to help shape the future of Ford Park, call our Volunteer Manager for more details.