More than three years after an arsonist set fire to play equipment on their village green, the children and young people of Whittingham and Goosnargh have a new £97,000 play area.
The facility was made possible by the efforts of “The Friends of Whittingham and Goosnargh Green” which was formed after children at Oliverson’s Primary School raised the issue of the vandalised play area in their village green with various authorities.
The friends, which has worked closely with the community and Preston Council to draw up the plans, has also been busy fundraising and applying for grants since its formation in 2009.
Friends’ chairman, Joe Birkby said: “The project which started over three-and-a-half years ago has finally reached fruition with the completion of the toddlers’ play area.”
He explained the first phase, which provided facilities for the eight-14 age group was completed in March 2011, although it had been planned to provide for the youngest children first.
“But due to the intricacies of various funding arrangements and the need to meet the different criteria, it became necessary to provide provision for the eight-14 age group as the first step,” said Mr Birkby, adding the last 20 months has been concentrated on raising the necessary funds for the second stage.
By January 2012, with accumulated funds of £25,000, Mr Birkby says the final designs for the toddler area were drawn up and residents and interested groups including the parish council consulted, with modifications made, over a six month period.
Besides organising a diverse range of fund raising events, including three very successful Balls in the Hall, an antiques and craft fayre, Zumba sessions, auction of promises, garden parties and a charity greyhound event, grants have come from various sources including the Government’s Play Builder scheme and Awards for All - a branch of the National Lottery Fund, as well as the BIFFA Awards which finances projects via the Landfill Communities Fund
There have also been contributions from the Harris Trust, Goosnargh and Whittingham WI, Shepherd Street Trust, Freemasons, Preston North Rotary Club, Whittingham Parish Council and from individuals.
Mrs Birkby says both sets of equipment have been favourably received.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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