The recreation ground at Hardings Lane, now referred to as Hardings Park, was purchased from Lodden Farm by the then parish council and officially opened on 5 July 1926. Ninety years later, in 2016 the site was significantly refurbished by Gillingham Town Council and financed from savings and a public works loan.
Hardings Park has fine views of the surrounding countryside. The recent refurbishment has created a special place for spontaneous gatherings, a place to meet and make new friends, a place to enjoy being outside and keeping fit, a place for establishing and sustaining cohesion and welbeing, a safe place to play and, most especially, a place to be proud of and cherished for generations to come.
Children, young people and the wider community were actively involved with the adventure play park project, and their comments have resulted in sixteen sensational pieces of play equipment that have been carefully chosen for inclusive play. A toddlerzone play-shop and slide unit will thrill toddlers, a cableway and space net will challenge children, a Viking swing and ‘sling shot’ will appeal to adolescents and a wheelchair friendly roundabout and boat swing will not disappoint the disabled.
The skate park has been constructed to a high standard using metal and steel frames in filled with reinforced premium grade concrete, which has then been finished to a perfect ultra-smooth surface with adequate grip for bikes, boards and blades. The design of the skate park was made in consultation with the young people under the guidance of Maverick Industries who also installed the skate park.
The multi-use games area will encourage better participation in sport through informal games of football, basketball/netball or practising ball skills. The outdoor table tennis facility will cater for a sport which is relatively easy to play, inclusive and social, a popular inter-generational recreational activity at school and enjoyed by many. Table tennis bats and balls are available for hire from RiversMeet Leisure Centre –. www.riversmeetgillingham.org
RiversMeet leisure centre and cafe offers a wide range of quality refreshments at reasonable prices so that families and young people visiting Hardings Park can have a real ‘day-out’ experience.
The recreation ground at Hardings Park, which is part of a designated sports and leisure hub in the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan, is a 2.5 hectare site and is the only ‘destination’ playing space in the centre of town. There are, however, seventeen smaller equipped playing spaces located in the local neighbourhoods and public open spaces elsewhere in the town.