A play area in Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire, has just secured a £9,950 grant from Biffa Award, a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.
The community-led Play Funding for Watton project, which was awarded funding under Biffa Award’s Recreation theme, is currently underway and includes the installation of four pieces of play equipment for the toddler and junior age groups. The organisation also plans to include recycled materials in the redevelopment of the space if possible, including new seating made from recycled plastic bottles and surfacing from recycled materials.
The previous play area was well used but often became overcrowded and the play equipment was made up of swings, a slide and a climbing frame. Consultation had shown that families were travelling out of the village to towns to use better play areas, but following completion of the project, the Parish Council hopes that the exciting new play area will encourage families to get involved in active play on their doorstep.
Michael Smith, Chairman, Watton-at-Stone Parish Council, said:
“The Parish Council has for some time had ambitions to improve play facilities for the community but the lack of funding was a major impediment. The Council was then approached by a group of concerned villagers, who formed a fundraising group to kickstart an effort to identify suitable improvements and seek external funding. The Biffa Award grant forms a major part of that funding and has enabled us to move the project forward.”
Hannah Brownlow, Leader of the Play funding for Watton, said:
“Living in a community as a Mother of young children, it became apparent that the play equipment available for out of school play was ideally located but of limited appeal and in need of updating. We set up the fundraising group ‘Play funding for Watton’ in 2011 and were made aware of the Biffa Award grant programme. We were amazed at the generosity of the grant and it enabled us to seek other co-funding and plan an ambitious scheme to benefit the village children.”
Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said:
“Projects like this are incredibly important for local communities, which is why we look to invest in them. The project to improve the play area at Watton-at-Stone Sportsfield will provide local children and families with a safe and fun place to play and we are proud to support it.”