It’s often hard for Grants Officers to find the time to visit projects, so when I was invited to the launch of Friends of Furzeham Green’s Playground Improvement Project in Torbay, I set myself the challenge of visiting some of the other Community Spaces projects in the area.
My journey began at 5am, I was aiming to visit six project sites in the South West. Martin Fine, Community Spaces Facilitator, was my hospitable guide for the day and, first, we met with the Roundham and Hyde Ward Partnership in Paignton to find out how they were coping with their stage 2 flagship application. It was interesting to hear their feedback on the process and how they felt about the competition with other possible flagship applicants in the South West region.
Next we were due to see two project sites that only recently secured funding from the programme. There was already a notice up at Shiphay Park acknowledging their success, and the sparse equipment currently on site demonstrated the visual impact Community Spaces funding will have. The rain meant the trip to Chelston Park had to be cut from the hectic schedule, but it was great to find out that the contractors were due to start work on the site soon.
It was still raining for the launch at Furzeham Green, the group had very cleverly created a ‘Plan B’ and the opening ceremony took place at the local school hall. Over 70 children showed their appreciation of the new additions to their play area by cheering and shouting ‘thank you!’ A little break from the rain meant that Friends of Furzeham Green’s Chairman, David Lilley, could show me around the completed project. It was a good example of how adding additional equipment to existing play areas can expand the range of ages catered for – and to prove this I braved the zip-wire!
Finally, as it continued to rain, I had a view of Hookhills Park from the car window, before meeting group member Henri Treece. It was good to know that Henri was thinking about the launch of the project even before the work on site had begun.
On the train journey home, I reflected that it would be nice to return in a year’s time to see the difference Community Spaces funding has made to all this sites. Note to self: Probably best to plan future visits in the summer…
More photos from the day can be seen on Flickr – please follow this link.