A new-look £60,000 play area has opened in a South Lakeland town. Excited children joined councillors for the grand opening of the new play area at Bolefoot in Oxenholme on Saturday afternoon.
The community group Oxenholme Play Area Development (OPAD) helped raise funds for the project through a ‘crowdfunding’ appeal. It raised enough money to add a ‘space net’ climbing area to the scheme, which also includes brand new slides, swings, climbing frames, seating and shelters. There was also a £25,000 contribution from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), £5,000 from Kendal Town Council and other funding from local councillors’ member budgets, charitable trusts, leisure organisations and local company donations.
OPAD chair and mum-of-three Emma Turner, said: “It has been a real community effort and lots of people have got involved, contributing funding and giving ideas about what they’d like to see in the park. We’ve been helped by SLDC, the town council, local businesses and charitable trusts and residents in Oxenholme have also paid towards it, we even had a sweetie jar in the local shop for donations. It should be something the whole community can be proud of because they have played such a big part in making this happen. The play area will be great for young people in the village. Because of Oxenholme’s relative isolation, it is the only park that is easily accessible and it is also the only real community space that we have where people of all ages can get together.’’
Playground manufacturers, HAGS SMP, designed the new play space incorporating ideas and suggestions from consultations run by OPAD in both 2014 and 2015, for a playground suitable for youngsters aged up to 14 that is accessible to both disabled and non-disabled users. Cllr Brenda Gray, SLDC ward councillor for Oxenholme and Natland, has also supported the project and contributed £3,000 funding through her last three years’ member allowances.