The Courtyard at Court Hey Park in Huyton is set to be transformed with the help of funding from Livv Investment as another example of how social investment can be used for the benefit of local communities.
Court Hey Park dates back to the 18th century when it was part of the estate of Lord Derby. Since then, it has been owned by the brother of Prime Minister William Gladstone, before becoming a farm, a World War II quarantine station, the home of an athletics and cycling club and the former National Wildflower Centre.
The Courtyard and surrounding buildings have been purchased by One Knowsley, the infrastructure support body for the third sector in the local area, thanks to funding from Livv Investment (part of Livv Housing Group).
A £45k loan and £25k grant helped the organisation to acquire the site in an asset transfer from Knowsley Council. This followed a £42K grant and £105K loan in 2019 from Livv Investment in 2019 which enabled One Knowsley to establish itself as a transformational place leader within the borough.
One Knowsley now plans to transform the site into brand new headquarters and a hub for the community, creating a resource for local and wider communities.
Howard Roberts, Executive Director of Finance and Performance, Livv Housing Group, said: “One Knowsley is doing some exciting work in the borough and we were keen to help this important organisation, which generates huge social impact, with their Covid recovery and green vision.
“Court Hey is a much-loved park. We are pleased that our investment will help One Knowsley to move there, as well as provide more opportunities and activities benefitting local people and the wider Liverpool city region.”
Working with partners including the council and Knowsley Chamber of Commerce, One Knowsley will lead a renaissance of the site in partnership with local groups and business community offering space for activities, meetings, workshops as well as welcoming the 20,000 visitors to the annual Knowsley Flower Show in 2022.
This transformation has also been designed to support the borough of Knowsley’s ambition to improve its green credentials, so a new heating system and LED lighting set will be used throughout, along with solar panels on the roof. One Knowsley’s investment in reducing its carbon footprint will reduce the annual energy consumption of its buildings by approximately 180,000 Kwh per annum.
The investment is also aimed at protecting the rich history and biodiversity of the Court Hey Park site, with several nods to the site’s past, working with Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Knowsley Council to explore the heritage and create a lasting legacy for the local community.
Racheal Jones, chief executive, One Knowsley, added: “I’d like to thank Knowsley Council and Livv Investment for their support with the asset transfer and I am looking forward to working closely with our stakeholders to fulfil our ambitions for an exemplar in green recovery from the Covid pandemic.
“Our vision is to create a vibrant new hub for community events and social activities, and a place for the people of Knowsley to be proud of. We are committed to developing a plan for the site over the coming months, one that includes our stakeholders and the local community who it will serve. It is incredibly important that they are involved in the process.”
Livv Investment, part of Livv Housing Group, is supported by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, through the Growth Fund programme with funding provided by The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital.