Leazes Park playground fundraiser reaches £21,000 target

We’re delighted to share the news that the fundraising campaign to repair the playground in Leazes Park – spearheaded by Northern Lights Newcastle and delivered in partnership with Urban Green Newcastle – has reached its target!

£21,000 has been raised to reopen popular pieces of play equipment in the city centre playground for local families and visitors to the park. A big thank you to everyone that donated.

The campaign was launched to mark the 150th anniversary of Leazes Park’s official opening on 23 December 2023. Northern Lights Newcastle kick started the fundraiser with a £1,000 donation and a commitment to match fund every pound donated by members of the public (up to a total of £10,000).

In addition to the generous donations from members of the public and Northern Lights Newcastle, the organisers of Noughty 90’s Festival and Lost Minds – which both take place in Leazes Park – also donated significant amounts. Noughty 90’s Festival made a donation of £1,000, and Alex Laddin – organiser of Lost Minds – made a personal donation of £10,000.

Roxy Robinson, Event Director of Northern Lights Newcastle, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the playground fundraiser for Leazes Park has reached its target! Green spaces in our cities are so important, particularly to families with young children.

“We are delighted that our event, Northern Lights, helped raise vital funds to improve equipment in the playground. The improvements will help families to enjoy the outdoors at Leazes Park together. We wish to thank everyone, particularly our generous customers, who donated when buying tickets to Northern Lights.”

Carol Pyrah, Chief Executive of Urban Green Newcastle, said: “We know how important play areas are for children and families, especially those that don’t have access to their own outside space. Park playgrounds provide a free and safe outdoor place for children to play and be active, which is important for their health and wellbeing.

“This successful fundraising campaign for Leazes Park means we can repair and reopen some of the popular, larger pieces of play equipment; and carry out further works across the play area in time for the summer.

“Unfortunately, outdoor play equipment does wear out over time, and it’s also often a target for anti-social behaviour. Since Urban Green Newcastle was formed in 2019 we’ve continued to invest in play areas across the city’s parks. In 2023 we installed a new piece of play equipment in Elswick Park following an arson attack, and we’re working with local businesses and community groups in Gosforth to raise the funding to repair the park’s playground.

“Looking after the play areas in Newcastle’s parks does cost a lot of money, but with the support of partners like Northern Lights Newcastle and local communities, we’re continuing to improve facilities for park users.

“On behalf of Urban Green Newcastle I’d like to thank Northern Lights Newcastle, Alex Laddin, Noughty 90’s Festival, and every single generous member of the public that donated to the campaign. Because of you, we can carry out this important work to the playground in Leazes Park to mark its 150th year.”

Alex Laddin, organiser of the Lost Minds event in Leazes Park, said: “Urban Green Newcastle has done a terrific job in looking after this green space and the parks in Newcastle, so I’m happy I could make a contribution to the playground which will bring lots of enjoyment for years to come.”

As part of the package of works at Leazes Park playground, the aeroskate and two multiplays currently closed to members of the public will be brought back into operation. Safety surface repairs will be made to the younger children’s play area, along with repairs to the toddler swing. In the older children’s playground, the popular aeroglide will also be repaired. Parts and labour have already been ordered and some of the work has begun.

Leazes Park officially opened to the public on December 23 1873 following a petition in the 1950s by a group of working men from the factories of Newcastle upon Tyne seeking access to open space where the people of Newcastle could enjoy fresh air, exercise, and recreation away from the heavy industry of the city centre. That led to the opening of the city’s first public park – fondly referred to as ‘The People’s Park’.

Today, it is a popular place for people to access nature in the city centre, as well as a range of events, sports and activities including parkrun, angling, basketball, and tennis. Our partnership with Newcastle City Council and the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) will see newly refurbished tennis courts opened in Leazes Park later this year.

And our pioneering arts and health project, delivered in partnership with Newcastle Hospitals Charity, is returning to Springbank Pavilion in Leazes Park from April this year. Join Chilli Studios, Curious Arts and Gem Arts for a programme of free, creative workshops and artists’ activities.

From 22 November – 31 December 2024, Leazes Park will once again host Northern Lights Newcastle; the Christmas light trail that attracted over 100,000 visitors in its debut year in 2023. Tickets for the event go on sale in late June, and you can sign up for further information at northernlightsnewcastle.com or follow Northern Lights Newcastle on social media (@northernlightsnewcastle).