Votes needed to give Swalcliffe children a playground

Swalcliffe playground appeal. From the left, Kiran Hingorani, Swalcliffe Park School principal, Peter Beddowes, chairman of the play area group, Virginia Merritt, management committee member, David McLindon, playground prime mover and Helen Argros-Farrell, parent and supporter, with children and parent looking over the wall where the playground will be built. NNL-170711-180107009
Swalcliffe playground appeal. From the left, Kiran Hingorani, Swalcliffe Park School principal, Peter Beddowes, chairman of the play area group, Virginia Merritt, management committee member, David McLindon, playground prime mover and Helen Argros-Farrell, parent and supporter, with children and parent looking over the wall where the playground will be built. NNL-170711-180107009

Votes are needed from the general public to secure up to £10,000 to build a much-needed playground in Swalcliffe.

Planning permission has been agreed for the woodland play area in Swalcliffe but the team behind it need around £35,000 to make it a reality.

So far, £12,000 has been raised by the village so the group is bidding for grants, including The Aviva Community Fund 2017 which requires votes to be considered.

The group of parents and grandparents in Swalcliffe have been working for nearly three years on the project to create a woodland play area in the heart of their village.

Their vision is to create a safe and convenient play area in a woodland setting, where young children from the village as well as other local villages, schools and playgroups can play, explore and learn about nature.

It all started when local residents were consulted as part of a village planning survey about new amenities they would like to have in the village; a safe place for kids to play was the top choice.

There is currently no public space in Swalcliffe for young children to play together safely away from the busy main road, building dens and playing hide and seek – plus many of the cottages have very small gardens.

As a result, parents and grandparents of young children need to drive to playgrounds further afield.

Sophie Thompson, a committee member and mother of three children under seven, said: “As a parent of three active children, I know how important it is to have somewhere where they can let off steam and get away from their electronic devices.

“I usually end up driving them to another playground, so it will be fantastic to have a woodland play area on the doorstep where I know they will be safe.

“I think it will definitely attract more young families to move into the village too.”

The playground is hoped to be built in a piece of woodland near the entrance to Swalcliffe Park School, which has offered to lease the land as it is currently unused.

Principal Kiran Hingorani said: “The school is delighted to be able to help support the development of a new village playground by offering a piece of land for a peppercorn rent.

“The school is an integral part of the village and local community and looks forward to seeing lots of children enjoying the woodland play park for many years to come.”

Click here to vote before the November 21 deadline.