Two rare opportunities have arisen to help run MK’s biggest leisure attraction, Willen Lake. Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park and is home to a whole host of watersports and activities for the whole family.
It has around 1,000,000 visitors a year, drawing people from all over the UK and employs over 100 people during the peak season which runs from April to October each year. Two voluntary positions have become available on the board for the first time in many years.
Willen Lake is owned and managed by a subsidiary company of The Parks Trust called Whitecap Leisure. The Trust is an independent charity that looks after over 6,000 acres of parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes. The Trust has invested over £7m at Willen lake over the past six years in order to improve the facilities and provide visitors with a great day out.
There are still several more phases of improvements to make and the Trust has an exciting masterplan to guide its long-term development of the venue. The Trust is governed by a board of Trustees’ and Willen Lake is a wholly owned subsidiary with its own Board of voluntary directors. Two long standing, non-executive directors are due to retire, and the Trust is looking for replacements. Ideally with a strong interest in outdoor leisure and recreation and good commercial experience. Initially the appointment would be for a three-year term. This is an exciting opportunity to play a part in one of Milton Keynes’ great success stories and help shape the next stage of this fantastic leisure attraction.
Following the preparation of a master plan by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Landscape Architects LDA, the first major phase of improvement works began in 2017. This included extensive ground remodelling, a new, surfaced car park offering an additional 300 spaces, and a brand-new Splash Park covering 1000m², making it one of the largest in the UK. Alongside Splash ‘n’ Play, a new coffee and ice cream kiosk, with increased toilet facilities, and were also created.
The second phase of the improvement work commenced in 2020. Based on customer feedback, phase two included the redevelopment of the peninsula on the western side of the lake to create a vibrant promenade along the waterfront and to improve public access to the water’s edge. This phase was completed in the summer of 2021 and now offers fantastic benefits for visitors including; a purpose- built centre for all watersports activities at the lake with modern changing rooms, showers and additional public toilets. The new building also includes a new café, Benugo Bar & Kitchen which offers indoor and al fresco dining at both ground and first floor levels, overlooking the Lake to the east and south. The building itself is fully accessible, with level access, lifts, accessible toilets, baby change facilities and includes a full Changing Places Facility. Furthermore, the children’s play area has been upgraded and extended, with a new secure toddler’s play area located close to the café’s outdoor seating area. The new play area at Willen Lake extends over an acre, offering the biggest free play area in the area.
This is an exciting time to join the board and a great opportunity for individuals with commercial experience, ideally in the leisure industry. The new directors will help to shape and manage Milton Keynes’ number one leisure attraction. There is also an opportunity to join The Parks Trust board as a voluntary trustee, The Trust are particularly looking for individuals with a background in finance as this role will support on their Audit Committee.
The Parks Trust and Willen Lake welcome people from all backgrounds and we are committed to improving the diversity of our team. We would love to receive more applications from Disabled, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups who are currently under-represented in our organisation. If you would like a tour of Willen Lake or our offices or to pop in to meet some of our team whilst considering making an application, please get in touch.
Anyone interested in applying for the positions at Willen Lake or the opportunity for the main board of The Parks Trust should contact The Trust’s Chief Executive, David Foster by email at email@example.com