Nick Danks, Director of Finance and Business Services

I’m probably one of the newest members of the team here at Nene Park Trust, having joined just over one month ago but I forged a strong connection with the Park a long time ago!

In September 1986, over the course of a number of weeks, several school friends and I were taught the basics of sailing by the outdoor instructors based out of a small ramshackle building on the edge of none other than Gunwade Lake in Ferry Meadows! The experience created happy memories for me. I remember the smell of the wetsuits, the thrill of learning to sail (as well as narrowly avoiding a strike to the head by an unexpected jibe) and of course the soundtrack and excitement which accompanied us on the 90-minute round trip from Grantham. Our minibus ride, expertly piloted by Mr Woodward was made complete with The Communards providing the soundtrack from their one and only number one hit. Co-incidentally I read that Richard Coles, the instrumentalist of The Communards duo, is now vicar at nearby Finedon, located close to the River Nene.

I’ve lived away from this area for many years now, so with my memories stuck firmly in 1986, I returned to the Park in January this year and couldn’t believe how much it had evolved, igniting a strong desire to become more involved. Fast forward a few months to April this year, when I started working for Nene Park Trust. I was struck by the passion and commitment of the staff, volunteers and trustees and their attention to detail in ensuring the Park remains litter free, safe, and accessible, whilst remaining on a solid financial footing and delivering a positive environmental impact. 

In common with many organisations, we have been hit hard by the pandemic. This has put strain on our finances, and forced us to adapt our working practices to ensure that we continue to provide an outstanding park for all to enjoy. As we now emerge from lockdown and with new additions such as the opening of Lakeside Farm Shop and the launch of our electric passenger boat, we are poised to welcome more visitors to enjoy the Park to its fullest extent.

Looking further ahead, the successful planning application represents a key milestone in our plans for a new Lakeside Activity Centre, which when constructed will welcome a new cohort of visitors to the area. As well as working hard to make the Activity Centre a reality, I’m looking forward to playing my part in ensuring the Park is able in the longer term to provide experiences, develop skills, build memories and promote health and wellbeing for many more visitors in the future.

As for my sailing skills, unfortunately they have been neglected with the passage of time, so I’m now hoping to get re-acquainted with that unpredictable sailing jibe with support from James, Dev and the rest of the Nene Outdoors Team. I am really looking forward to getting back out on the water when capacity allows.