North East Connected

New year new play equipment for Mickley, thanks to bag scheme

Children in Mickley are looking forward to new play equipment in 2017 – thanks to success in the Tesco Bags of Help funding scheme.

Plans to add new equipment at the village’s Riding Dene Play Area were successful in achieving £10,000, after shoppers voted for them in stores in the area.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the second round of its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.

Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country and in this area the Mickley Play Area scheme finished in second place and has been awarded £10,000.  Work will now begin on bringing the project to life.

The scheme has been developed by students at Mickley First School with local county councillor Cllr Anne Dale, who are working together to agree designs for the new equipment.

Cllr Dale said:  “This is great news – and we were extremely pleased to come second in the competition.  I am very grateful and would like to thank all of the local people who have supported us.  We can now determine exactly which equipment can be purchased, and will be finalising the details with the children at the school during the next few weeks.”

The site at Riding Dene currently has a football pitch, a basketball hoop and play equipment suitable for small children. Older children however have found they have little to play on, and so would like to have new equipment more suitable to their age group.

Mickley First School is a major supporter of the project, helping to organise a consultation event and communicating with the local children about the project’s progress.

After the funding announcement Students Matthew Hughes and Samuel Ghani said:  “We would like to thank everyone who voted for the Mickley play equipment project.  We are so excited to see the new equipment installed, and get the chance to play on it.”

Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council added:  “This is a great project, developed locally, which will benefit many generations of young Mickley residents.  I am delighted that so many shoppers voted for the scheme – allowing us to provide some great new equipment.”

Voting ran in Tesco stores from 31 October to 13 November – with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout in store.

Tesco estimates that around six million votes were cast in stores up and down the UK.  Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £24million across 2,421 local projects.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.  We been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

From 1 December, customers have been able to vote for local groups all year round, every time they shop, and grants will be awarded monthly – meaning that thousands more projects will benefit from the scheme.

Funding will now be awarded to groups who are seeking to use and develop outdoor spaces in ways that will benefit their local community, and money will be available in smaller amounts, making it more accessible.

Customers will get the chance to vote for three different groups each month. At the end of each month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said:  “It’s just the beginning for Bags of Help and we’re really excited about the future.  The scheme will be permanently open for applications, and as grants can now be used for not just the development of, but also for the use of local outdoor spaces, we expect even more groups will now have the chance to benefit.

“It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”

Anyone can nominate a local project and local organisations can apply. To find out more visit

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