Newcastle City Council and the Friends of Heaton Park Playground Project are today celebrating the news they’ve received a £50,000 funding boost from SUEZ Communities Trust (formerly SITA Trust) for the forthcoming refurbishment of Heaton Play Park.
A group of five parents whose young children regularly use Heaton Park play area first raised the renovation needs with the City Council and their local councillors. This resulted in the birth of a campaign to update its design and introduce new equipment for the park.
Where possible the new design will cleverly recycle and refurbish existing play equipment, surfaces and fencing. It will also look to install new exciting, accessible play equipment to attract even more children and families, and increase participation in the wider activities available in the play park.
The welcomed SUEZ Communities Trust monies will form part of a wider £108,000 refurbishment programme for Heaton Play Park that is being made possible by Section 106 contributions, Newcastle City Council ward funding, and a grant from the accessibility scheme.
The City Council is able to contribute using Section 106 money as a direct result of local development in the area.
The refurbishment to Heaton Play Park will include: a new inclusive roundabout; a flat spinner; a spinning bowl; a bespoke clambering nest and slide; a low level natural gym; a picnic area; a trampoline (part of phase 2 works); refurbished swings; toadstool seats; log benches; new grassed area; and self-closing gates.
The Friends of Heaton Park Playground Project also involved local schools to see what they would like to see changed in the park.
Lynne Patience, mum to Spike (age 4) and Flora (aged 3), and one of the co-founders of the Friends of Heaton Park Playground Project, said: “This is a heavily used park and is an important part of the local community. The parents and children love the space and are always keen to get involved. Over the past couple of years there has been a number of conversations about the state of the park, and it’s interesting how the park users are totally invested in its future and how it will change.
“We have been delighted with the different ways that people have shown their support. Whether it be helping with suggestions on the park’s design through to helping to champion the cause and getting directly involved with the fundraising efforts. This has been a real community effort that has seen residents, the City Council, organisations and funders [like the SUEZ Communities Trust] uniting for the good of the region.”
Marianne Ivin of SUEZ Communities Trust added “This project is great demonstration of how a community can come together and work with the local council to make facilities in their area better. We are delighted to be able to help fund the play area and look forward to seeing the end result.”
Councillor Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “It is fantastic that such significant investment will be made into this park thanks to a group of local residents, councillors, the Friends of Heaton Park, the council and organisations who really want to make a difference. This will create an outstanding play area for local children.
“This is a great example of community spirit and a shared vision of what people want to see in Heaton Park. The commitment and fundraising efforts of those dedicated local parents and residents have been outstanding, they’ve driven this project and championed the improvements to the park for everyone to enjoy.
“This collaborative fundraising effort, led by the parents using this park every day with their children, has captured support from the wider community which is great to see. They really want to do something for Heaton and so far, their efforts have been extremely successful. I’m really excited to see the final result very shortly and urge people to get involved and support through the Just Giving page.”
The Friends of Heaton Park Playground Project have also set up a ‘Just Giving’ page to raise the final part of the funds needed to complete the refurbishment project.
The page is currently live and can be found at www.justgiving.com/
For information on how to apply for funding from SUEZ Communities Trust call (01454) 262910 or visit www.suezcommunitiestrust.org.