We have secured all the funding to build a state of the art community facility in the heart of Heavitree Pleasure Ground, appointing local firm Devon Contractors Ltd to start the build in January 2021.

The new £800k Park Life Heavitree Café and Hub will be located in Exeter’s Heavitree Pleasure Ground, adjacent to the basketball courts and bowling green. The café will cater for up to 50 internal covers selling affordable, quality, locally and sustainably sourced food and drink with a hireable hall space in the other half of the building aimed at accommodating local groups and activities. Outside space will feature additional seating and a community garden. A Café Manager and supporting team will be recruited in 2021.

The vision for this project has been a decade in the making, with a small team of passionate volunteers giving their time to deliver this much needed community facility. The café and hub project is a central part of Park Life Heavitree’s overall aim to bring people together from all walks of life, reduce social isolation, create community cohesion, and to help people to lead healthy and active lifestyles – centred around the local green  space.

The build cost of £803k has been raised in full via local fundraising coordinated by Park Life Heavitree and successful community grant applications from Power to Change, The National Lottery Community Fund, Sport England Community Asset Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Co-op Community Fund, The People’s Postcode Lottery, The Exeter Community Forum, Exeter City Council and John Lewis Partnership.

Local firm Devon Contractors Ltd, based in Clyst St Mary and currently working on the Sideshore development in Exmouth has been appointed to build the Park Life Heavitree community café and hub. Work will start on site at the beginning of January 2021, with a completion date in late summer 2021 and official launch in early autumn 2021.

Ben Hunt, Park Life Heavitree founder, trustee and building team lead comments; “It’s been a long time in the planning but we are now incredibly close to work starting on site and a new community facility being delivered for local people in Heavitree Pleasure Ground. So many people have given their time over many years to get to this point and we now can’t wait to see the building work commence and the plans come to  life. We hope this will be an exciting and welcoming space for local people next year and some positive news to share at the end of a challenging 2020!”

Local architect Sean Keaney from Fairview Architecture was appointed in May 2016. Planning permission was received in May 2018 with a full tender exercise in autumn 2019. A value engineering exercise was completed in spring 2020 before the preferred building partner Devon Contractors Ltd were appointed in autumn 2020. The total construction cost for the build is £803,000.  

Exeter City Councillor for Heavitree Olwen Foggin said, “This is a truly fantastic project for local people by local people. Park Life Heavitree act as a community glue, looking for ways to connect with and help others whether through their events, meals for those in need or delivering prescriptions during lockdown. This new facility in the park will be an incredible community space and I’m certain well used and loved for many years to come. Well done Park Life!”

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