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Group behind vision to install £50,000 play area urge others to swing into action

Swannington play area in need of updating.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Swannington play area in need of updating. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A group of parents and residents are campaigning to get a village playpark a long overdue refurbishment.

Swannington play area in need of updating. Swannington Play Area Committee members and their children.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSwannington play area in need of updating. Swannington Play Area Committee members and their children. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Swannington Play Area Committee need to raise more than £50,000 to buy new equipment for the land off School Road.

The group is also looking for individuals with skills to support an application to obtain charitable status.

It comes following a decision in 2016 to remove the majority of the equipment after it was condemned by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents as unsafe for use and beyond repair.

Originally installed in the early eighties, the equipment was introduced to counteract anti-social behaviour in the village, near Aylsham. The committee was set up at the same time to maintain the area and fundraise. The land itself was leased from the then owner.

Swannington play area in need of updating.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSwannington play area in need of updating. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

After the equipment was removed, the ownership of the land was under question so the committee was unable to buy new equipment. But finally, in 2017, the land was permanently gifted to Swannington Parish Council on behalf of the village.

Committee chairman, Laura Marfell-Williams, said: “Having spent time looking at funding possibilities and the type of entity that we would need to be in order to qualify for grants, and VAT exemption, it looks like we are going to have to register as a charity.

“None of us know exactly what that entails so we would really welcome some additional support.

“We’re trying to create a fun and usable space for local kids.”

Similar ambitious projects have been successful in different parts of Norfolk, including at Sheringham .

The group has already received £5,000 from the Lind Trust and a further £1,600 from a local charitable trust but the overall scheme will cost a minimum of £50,000.

Last September, a play area survey was delivered to 130 homes in Swannington and the immediate area. Nearly 40pc of households surveyed replied - a total of 145 residents - with 100pc of those stating a need for new equipment.

The most wanted list included a zip wire, flat swings, a climbing frame, toddler swings, a picnic table, and a basket swing. This would add to the existing metal slide mounted onto a grass mound, a roundabout, bouncy seesaw, and shelter.

- To help or donate please email swannington@btinternet.com or ring 01603 861300.

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