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Parent power: Wanstead Playground Association put order in for new equipment

PUBLISHED: 10:06 25 March 2016

Nicola Calabrese left with youngsters and friends in the play area

Nicola Calabrese left with youngsters and friends in the play area

Archant

It’s been a good couple of weeks for the Wanstead Playground Association (WPA) – a group of parents with a mission to refurbish Christ Church playground in Wanstead.

The playground on Christ Church Green, High Street, Wanstead. Picture: Wanstead Playground Association/Nick PandevThe playground on Christ Church Green, High Street, Wanstead. Picture: Wanstead Playground Association/Nick Pandev

Not only were they honoured with a community award from the Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Barbara White, but they have now raised enough money to put in an order for new playground equipment.

See graphics of the new equipment – which the group hopes will be in place by the end of May – in our gallery.

Established in November 2014, the group originally formed to raise money for one new piece of equipment after Vision said they didn’t have the budget to cover the cost.

“The wooden bridge had been there since the 1980s – it was over 30 years old,” said Sarah Boud, Chairman of WPA.

The playground on Christ Church Green, High Street, Wanstead. Picture: Wanstead Playground Association/Nick PandevThe playground on Christ Church Green, High Street, Wanstead. Picture: Wanstead Playground Association/Nick Pandev

“Redbridge owned the land, but Vision managed it and they had their funding cut in line with cuts across the whole of the borough – we were worried about it’s safety.”

Armed with a believe that the playground would benefit the hundred of children that lived nearby and the five schools in the surrounding area, Sarah and her parent army looked at how they could raise the money themselves.

The team did it in stages, applying for grants but the ball really started rolling when a Cllr used crowdfunding to raise money for a local project.

“Cllr Cronin raised around £4000 for a Christmas tree in Wanstead.

“We thought we could do it too and so I went on a crowdfunding course.”

From Christmas trees to Christ Church equipment, the team were inundated with donations and raised £20,000.

More grants stated to come in, and with members of the public saying that they hadn’t had a chance to donate but wanted to, the WPA decided to open another crowfunding page for more equipment.

In July 2015 they consulted with residents to see what they wanted done with the space and a huge number of people was concerned about the layout.

“The swings are in the middle and parents was concerned about toddlers running in front of them and being knocked over – in 95 percent of playgrounds they are in the corner,” added Sarah.

“ We also got feedback about age ranges and accessibility, so we decided to create a frame for older children and make pieces of equipment suitable for as many children as possible.”

The new play area will feature, pieces that cater for multiple ages and will also have a roundabout that children in wheelchairs can use.

The WPA have raised £103,000 and have just put an order in with suppliers.

Work is set to start in May and they hope to open the play ground in time for the following half term.

Sarah said: “Its been a long slog, but it was definitely worth it – not only can our children benefit from it but potentially their children as well.”

And when asked if the success of the playground has inspired her to take on more community causes, she added: “No I am exhausted.

“I need a bit of family life now.”


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