HUNDREDS of visitors to Poole Park were encouraged to get behind a £2.5million Heritage Lottery Fund bid on Saturday.

The launch day for the Friends of Poole Park ‘back the bid’ campaign began with a presentation to 500 parkrun runners.

Then volunteers were out in force in the park, High Street and Quay with buckets and badges, given in exchange for donations.

The kiosk was also open all day with a fundraising lucky dip for children.

The aim was to spread the word about the plans for the park which could be made possible with the funding.

The bid, put together by Borough of Poole and the Friends of Poole Park following public consultation earlier this year, includes the restoration of the park’s original Victorian characteristics and improving its landscaping.

The park’s lakes and water features would be improved, new play equipment introduced and the road would be made safer for park users, if the bid gets the thumbs-up.

Money could also be used to fund programmes to manage the park’s geese and wildfowl.

Any donations raised will be pledged to the bid and, if successful, could be match-funded by Heritage Lottery Fund up to 10 times, said Moira Muir, campaign promoter and member of the Friends.

She added: “It is an amazing incentive for people to donate. This is a very important time for Poole Park.

“Getting the public behind it is all part of what is going to make the bid successful.”

She said she hoped as many people as possible would wear the ‘Back the Bid’ badges to ‘help spread awareness as well as raising money.’