Blackpool crazy golf course restored by disadvantaged volunteers
A derelict crazy golf course in Blackpool has been given a new lease of life by charities and volunteers with a range of disadvantages.
The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course, in the seafront sunken garden close to the Metropole Hotel, had fallen into disrepair and restoration work has been ongoing for the past two years.
Now, after being officially reopened on Friday last week, it is ready to welcome local and visitor golfers to test their skills on the historic site.
The revamp has been made possible thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund , via the Blackpool Fulfilling Lives programme, which has received £10m over seven years to support people struggling with homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Those involved in the renovation will also be involved in the running of the course.
Any profits will go to the Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels, a charitable organisation which runs a weekly outreach service and an emergency night shelter, seven days a week.
Paul Rawson, CEO of Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels, said: “Blackpool Fulfilling Lives approached us, offering to help with some of our community work.
"Whilst out picking up litter on the promenade as an organised activity, we came across the ‘sunken garden’.
"One of the volunteers said they would love to ‘do the site up’ and so the project started.
"Since that day we have had ongoing help from people experiencing multiple disadvantage and with the course finally open to the public, we will be asking those people to stay involved."
Ian Treasure, partnerships manager for Blackpool Fulfilling Lives, added: “As soon as the renovation was suggested we contacted Blackpool Council not wanting to lose enthusiasm or momentum.
"The estates, parks, and planning departments have been really helpful as there has been a lot of work behind the scenes to get us to this point.
"More importantly is the dedication of a few people, who have continued to turn up to help the renovation.
"Their commitment is an inspiration and testament to the reality that if you provide people facing complex needs with opportunities for connection and a sense of purpose, they can take steps away from destructive and debilitating lifestyles.
"They get a glimpse of personal hope.
"The Crazy Golf Course is a symbol of what the Fulfilling Lives programme was all about – not giving up on people who felt everyone had given up on them."
As well as involving local people in remedial works, the team also used the expertise of a crazy golf champion, Richard Gottfried.
Richard has helped advise on the playability of the course, and some of the history and is no stranger to the area.
He said: “I visit Blackpool regularly and have actually played this course many times when younger. It is a classic original layout.
"Crazy golf is having a resurgence and so I am hopeful we will see as many people as possible enjoying a round here again soon.”
The course will host competitions to coincide with high profile golfing events, and will offer individual adult, concession, and family tickets at a cost of £3, £2 and £10 respectively.
It is now open for weekends, working towards full opening in peak summer.
Paul Humble from Blackpool Civic Trust, who has been involved with the project, said: “Crazy golf was first played here in 1957, and it’s wonderful that the course is being reopened with its major original features restored and intact.
"Princess Parade and the sunken gardens are part of the Town Centre Conservation Area and also part of Blackpool’s much-loved seaside heritage."
There are two storyboards at either end of the course that document the history of the site going back to the 1700s.