Community comes together to officially open the St Giles Children’s play area on Swift Gardens five years after Youth Centre fire

Cllr Kirk and residents at Swift Gardens

Members of City of Lincoln Council joined the St Giles Community in officially opening the Swift Gardens children’s play area on the site of the former St Giles Youth Centre.

On 2 September, the community gathered to celebrate the official opening of the park, which was built in 2020 on the site of the former centre.

Exactly five years ago, in September 2016, the St Giles Youth Centre suffered catastrophic damage following an arson attack. 

The centre, operated by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC), was used to provide several services to the local youth community. 

Following the arson, City of Lincoln Council worked with user groups to accommodate them within the nearby St Giles Community Centre on an informal basis. 

Since the fire, the land remained vacant until 2020 and ownership was transferred from Lincolnshire County Council to the City of Lincoln Council.

The design of the play park, which was chosen by the children of St Giles is celebrating its first year of operation following its completion by contractor Wicksteed, includes a zip line, swings, slides, and other equipment for all ages.

Cllr Jackie Kirk, member for Glebe Ward, and co-organiser with Katie Atkinson for the Grand Opening event said: “It’s great to be able to finally mark and celebrate the opening of the play area, after two previous dates were cancelled due to lockdowns and the pandemic. 

“It has been a long process to get to this point, but it was worth taking the time to get things lined up and it’s wonderful to see we now have a much used and vital asset for the community.

“The play area has been a lifeline to the residents of the north of the city, an outdoor open space to meet up with friends and family during the pandemic.”

Cllr Bob Bushell, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place at City of Lincoln Council added: “This park is a very welcome addition to the city after the loss of the much-loved youth centre.

“We as a council are committed to the estate and we are happy to see children and families in the area once again enjoy what this site can offer.” 

Published on September 2nd 2021