We know that the current playground is really on its last legs, but we are cautiously optimistic that this will be the last winter of muddy entrances, non-existent climbing nets and worn out surfacing!
The team has been working hard behind the scenes on planning conditions and finalising grant submissions, so I thought I’d share an extract, a vision of what to look forward to:
Current users of the playground mainly consist of families with young children (under 8) and occasionally a group of teenagers using the swings in the evenings.
The goal of the Playscape is to literally and metaphorically open this space up to all. It is designed to be deliberately inviting and usable for all ages and abilities. We expect to see parents and carers playing and climbing with little ones, not just standing to the side. The really young ones will delight in pottering about and climbing up and down the mounds, the 8-12 year olds will be drawn into complex and involved games amongst the climbing structure, young teenagers will feel free to access all the playscape at their leisure (not least reliving the joys of hammocks and roundabouts!).
We expect to see many more children with additional needs, especially wheelchair users, making the trip to the Playscape to enjoy the sandpit, trampoline, roundabout and hammocks (if they can manage a standing transfer) as there is currently no where else locally that has such an accessible offering.
The Playscape will serve as an anchor for our village high street: Every small business is going to need help in the post-Covid 19 recovery and keeping the village businesses and services, such as the library and family- owned restaurants, thriving is important for everyone. The Playscape will be a local destination drawing visitors to the village and thus increasing footfall for businesses.
The planting areas and new trees in the Playscape will increase biodiversity and shade as well as help draw down carbon, and the future new pedestrian entrance (with more bike stands) will encourage more active travel to the rec.
In short, the community will benefit hugely from access to a free, green, high quality outdoor play area, for their mental, physical and emotional well-being, whether they choose to use a swing or just a bench to enjoy the new planting.
We should hear from the grant funding bodies early this month… if successful it’ll be all systems go!
Since writing, we have just discovered that we have been successful with both of the large grants, which is fantastic news!
More details to follow soon, but a huge thank you to everyone who has got us to this point. It is so exciting that this vision of an inspiring and inclusive play space will become a reality this year.