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New lease of life for Tameside boating lake

New lease of life for Tameside boating lake

Stamford Boating Lake could soon be returned to its former glory by a new community group.

Ridge Hill Big Local, a £1m Lottery funded project which includes the Springs, Arlies, Hague and Ridge Hill estates, has taken over the lease of the boating lake and fishing fake from Tameside Council through their social enterprise company, Ridge Hill Big Local Enterprises.

They have a vision to develop the lakes and the surrounding green space into an area for all of the residents of Tameside and beyond to enjoy. They decided to use some of their Big Local money to set up the social enterprise company to start off the work.

Mick O’Neill, chair of Ridge Hill Big Local, explained: “We had meetings and conversations with the council who have been hugely supportive.

“We identified an opportunity to set up a social enterprise company and we are awaiting a decision on an application for charitable status which would enable us to apply for additional, external funding to
develop the area.

“The social enterprises company will give us a legacy vehicle beyond the life of the Big Local funding period. We have set it up to start generating income for us which can then be reinvested to improve the area and to continue to fund our Big Local projects beyond the funding cycle.”

New beginnings: Director of the Big Local Project Mick O’Neill, Jayde Mulholland, director of Ridge Hill Enterprise Karen Rees-Unwin and Rob Bishop

The work to transform the lakes is already underway.

Mick explained: “People may have seen our recently employed community engagement officer, Rob Bishop, working alongside a number of volunteers.

“The front of the boating lake has been power cleaned, parts of the perimeter fence have been repaired and the wider area cleared.

“The boat house roof has been repaired, as have electric power points and the mains board inside.”

Two local businesses, Morgan Electrical Services and Cedar Construction, undertook the work at greatly reduced prices.

Mick added: “The support people are offering is very humbling. There is a real sense of people wanting us to be successful.

“The boats are in a sorry state so we’re working on submitting a funding application to purchase brand new boating stock.

“Then we want to develop the wider area. But those involved have a very clear message to their community: this is your project too.

“It’s a community business set up to benefit the community and we need more volunteers to help us run it,” said Karen Rees-Unwin, non-paid director of Ridge Hill Enterprises.

“Over time, as we get more and more grant money into the area, we’ll then be able to deliver what our community want.”

She continued: “It’s going to be an ambitious, long-term development plan and we want our residents to tell us what they would like to see.”

Plans pencilled in include re-establishing the Ridge Hill Fishing Club, holding events and activities for local schools and enhancing and promoting a nature walk trail behind the lakes.

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