Children and young people in Ruddington will be able to get out and play this summer thanks to the hard work of the St Mary’s Park Community Project members, who have secured new play facilities in the area.
The neglected space had a play area on this field but this was removed over a decade ago and the space – a popular cut through between two schools – was mainly used by dog walkers. This project is now restoring the park and creating a community area residents can be proud of and will embrace for generations to come.
The land – in the middle of Ruddington – is owned by Rushcliffe Borough Council, who do not provide play equipment outside of West Bridgford. Ruddington Parish Council does not own the land, so they were unable to provide funding for a play area and unfortunately the field lay neglected for many years.
The S Mary’s Community Park Project committee was established in January 2013 after the idea by a local resident, Alex Watts, received unanimous backing in a public meeting to gauge interest in this project.
The committee, made up of mainly working mums, worked enthusiastically to consult with local residents and children to find out what they wanted on the park. They also raised funds to be able to apply for funding.
All this was done with support from the local community, councillors and Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire (RCAN). However, whilst momentum on the project gained speed, their chair, Nikki Herbison, suffered a brain haemorrhage and died during a Park Run in May 2014.
This sad event brought the community even tighter together and more determined than ever to make this park a reality. The committee were overwhelmed by the donations received as Nikki’s family requested that the park would be a more fitting tribute to her than any flowers.
The committee, plus over 30 residents, have worked tirelessly to project plan, lease the land, raise community awareness and funding. These efforts have been rewarded as work on phase one, a fenced in play area with equipment predominately for younger children, path and seating, is now complete.
The funds for phase one were raised through community fundraising, including several run by the village schools, nurseries, pubs and shops, and a cash boost given by WREN. They are a not-for-profit business which awards grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.
The WREN boost allowed the committee to order play equipment from Wicksteed, a play provider who designed the park.
St Mary’s Community Park project chair, Alex Watts, said: “It is so exciting to see our hard work pay off with the first of the equipment being installed. We’re so pleased that the residents of Ruddington will benefit from this community effort for years to come”.
Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, added: “WREN is committed to funding projects that make a real difference to local communities, children and families. We’re delighted to support the St Mary’s Community Park Project and look forward to seeing the new play areas take shape over the coming months.”
For more information about the project, visit the Facebook page facebook.com/StMarysCommunityParkProject. The committee is still raising funds to complete the park with play equipment for older children. To donate to the project, please click here.