Community awarded £21k for play area dream

A community is to benefit from £21,000 investment to achieve their long-held dream of a new, well-equipped play area.

The Children of Audley Residents Association (CARA) has been granted the funding from SITA Trust, which distributes money gathered from the Landfill Tax.

Aspire Housing worked with CARA to apply for funding for the work which will complement £60,000 previous improvements at the Wereton Road Community Park in Audley.

CARA has worked for several years to achieve its goal of making the park, known as Queen Street Park locally, into a focal point for their community, used by people of all ages.

Ann Beech, councillor for the area and chair of CARA, said: “We wanted to transform this previously unused field into a safe place where children can play and where older people can meet.

“We also want it to be a place that is good for young people to go and to encourage them away from activities that might be destructive.”

The SITA Trust funding will pay for construction and installation of a 30 metre long aerial runway (zip wire), a City Glider (a piece of outdoor activity equipment) and a bench.

These were identified as the facilities the community most wanted when consultation was carried out on how the playground should be equipped.

Preparatory work for the park has already taken place using £32,000 previously raised, including installation of drainage and a footpath.

In addition new park gates and a meeting shelter have previously been installed in the park, thanks to £10,000 grant from the Aspire Group’s charity, the Realise Foundation.

And £18,000 raised by CARA was used to install a toddler play area three years ago.

Councillor Beech added: “A long time ago this area had traditional metal play equipment but it was taken away because it was tired and old.

“Our community had a vision that it could become a rural adventure park with natural obstacles, up to date play equipment, a picnic area, football pitch and shelter, so it could be used by the whole community.

“Thanks to this funding we have now nearly achieved our dream.”

Will Nixon, Aspire Group deputy chief executive, said: “This is a great example of how Aspire has worked positively with people in one of our areas where the residents have been determined to improve their neighbourhood.

“It is a great achievement for CARA and we look forward to the work being completed soon.”

The project is supported through SITA Trust’s Enhancing Communities Programme. SITA Trust provides funding to community improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.