Summer 2012 and the fencing comes down from around Lowfields Park, Sheffield, allowing the first users to enjoy the new facilities. It’s the culmination of over 11 years hard and sustained effort. And The park is alive and buzzing with laughter.
This 2.6 m project was based on an innovative four-way partnership between Sheffield City Council, FURD (Football Unites Racism Divides), Sheffield Futures (Youth Service) and Lowfield School.
A diverse package of funding was assembled for this radical transformation: Big Lottery Fund myplace programme, Football Foundation, Playbuilder, Lets Change4Life and Section 106 (planning gain) contributions.
The park now has a striking new community building, The U-Mix Centre. It is used for various leisure, culture, and education activities. These include: dance, music, yoga, and various employability-related skills sessions. U-Mix is run under contract from the City Council by FURD, a local charity, who work closely with Sheffield Futures in supporting and developing young people in the area.
It’s very much a dream come true in terms of the facilities, which include: a reception and resource room, a library, an office, three meeting rooms, a training room, an activities room, a kitchen, as well as a dance studio, gymnasium, a performing arts room, two dual gender team changing rooms, two match officials changing rooms and a new third generation, floodlit, artificial grass pitch (AGP).
While the wider park area has adventurous play equipment for children, and a multifunctional grassed space. Footpaths surround and intersect the space, and are used for walking and running. It is also used extensively by commuters as a walking and cycling route to Sheffield City centre.