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Community has designs on new-look memorial gardens

A £5000 grant has been awarded to Donisthorpe Memorial Garden in Leicestershire to help create a design to return it to its former glory.

The money has come from the Mercia Park Community Fund set up by IM Properties, to have a positive social impact on the communities surrounding its M42 scheme near junction 11.

The funding will be used towards a feasibility study and the provision of water and electricity to the site so that it can become a new hub for the community.

Jamie Wilde, who is part of the local community group who applied for the funding has lived in the village for 15 years said: “I’ve done a lot of research into the original site,” he said “It used to include an ornate bandstand and wrought iron gates and railings and was a very grand and fitting tribute to those who died in the two wars.

“People used to come together and gather at the gardens, however over the years the railings were removed as part of the war effort and the gardens were redeveloped into a children’s play area surrounded by earth banks. The play equipment deteriorated and has now been removed, but the earth banks make it difficult to hold social gatherings and events in the remaining space.”

Jamie added: “In years gone by the community was more tight-knit. Everyone would have walked to work, passed the time of day on the street, met down the village for a pint and chat after work or gone to the local dance.

“As a community group we feel it’s important to try to rekindle this community spirit and as the memorial gardens are right in the middle of the village it’s the ideal location to create a new meeting point for all generations.”

Supported by the local Parish Council who own the land, consultations will begin with residents, led by a steering group, to collectively decide on the design of the new look memorial garden.

Kerry Amory who works on IM Properties social value team and liaises with Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation who manage the fund said:

“It will be interesting to see what the final designs look like. I know some would be keen to see the gates and bandstand reinstated, reflecting some of the history of the village. It’s a fantastic project and great to see people like Jamie and the Donisthorpe Community group helping to push it forward.

“I know this is one of a number of initiatives they have got behind in the village in their bid to connect people and support the local community. We’re delighted to fund this project which we believe will have a positive long-term social impact for the village.”

IM Properties is committed to delivering sustainable development across its business. Working in partnership with its occupiers and supply chain it aims to create jobs, skills and training opportunities, in addition to long-lasting social value benefits for the local community.

The next round of grants is now open for applications. For further information on the Mercia Park Community Fund visit https://www.llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funds/mercia-park-community-fund-open/