Fundraising will prevent us from having to sell off land, say Wicksteed Park

The Wicksteed Charitable Trust says it has very limited resources

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 3:28 pm
Wicksteed Park.
Wicksteed Park.

Wicksteed Park has again appealed for donations so it doesn't have to sell off more land to help them financially.

The future of the popular park, which opened in 1921 and is celebrating its centenary this year, was thrown into doubt last year when the firm which ran its leisure facilities went into administration.

More than 100 jobs were lost and an appeal was launched to save the cash-strapped attraction, which raised more than £70,000 in just 24 hours.

Since then the park has also received a number of six-figure financial boosts to help it through the pandemic and pay for previously-planned work, with £302,700 confirmed as recently as last week.

Today (Thursday) the park announced its plans to re-open when lockdown restrictions are eased - but stressed the importance of further fundraising.

A statement said: "It is important that public donations continue to support the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, which owns the park, in the months and years ahead.

"The trust has very limited resources and in the past has had to resort, with much reluctance, to selling off land to meet a vital financial need.

"Support and fundraising helps prevent it having to do that."

Trust chairman Oliver Wicksteed previously said the cost of operating the free-to-visit park alone, without the rides and attractions, is about £110,000 a month.

In the past the park has relied on income generated from rides, attractions and catering as well as car parking charges, donations and, occasionally, the sale of land at their 147-acre site to balance the books.

Today the park confirmed that, due to the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are implementing some changes to "increase efficiency and reduce its operating costs".

This includes the removal of a small number of attractions which had become too costly or inefficient to run - the Clip ‘n’ Climb, zipwire, racing cars and the monorail.

A park statement said they would be creating exciting opportunities to introduce new attractions in the future.

Rachel James, Wicksteed Park’s head of sales and marketing, said: “We are still finding our feet in terms of recovering from the effects of the pandemic and have had to make some hard financial decisions affecting a small number of our attractions, some of which were popular with visitors, some not so popular.

“But we are working hard to make the park a better place to visit in every way and hope people are looking forward to coming back to see us as much as we are looking forward to welcoming them.”

- The park is looking for people to register their interest in jobs that will be available when they open. You can read more about that here.