The project commenced in 2016 with land purchase, community consultation, charity creation, successful planning permission and initial ground works. The 250 residents of Kilnwick (including 65 children) and 2500 residents of the neighbouring villages will all benefit enormously (all lacking any communal green space). The dual educational and recreational facilities being created at The Park will appeal widely. All local primary schools (over 700 pupils) have stated they will make regular visits with their pupils to benefit a wide cross section of their curriculum.
The Park will include:
• a stimulating play area appealing to pre-school to teenage children - includes manufactured play equipment (such as swings and slides) as well as "natural play" (such as log balance beams, grass mounds, tunnels, sandpit and den building).
• a central grassed area for sport, play and exercise
• extensive native tree planting and wildlife habitat creation
• nature information boards, outdoor classroom, wildlife and heritage trail
• seating for visitors
• focal hub to host social gatherings, youth groups, exercise classes and celebration events
• an accessible layout with wheelchair friendly paths and inclusive play features
Support from Calor Rural Community Fund would allow us to purchase a "team swing." This is an "inclusive" piece of play equipment with a basket seat, which allows groups of young people to play together, including those with special needs. It encourages team work whilst developing co-ordination and balance.
We've already prepared the land, sown grass and wildflower seed and planted 1000 native trees. During August 2017 we will be installing play equipment, seating, signage and paths. The Park will open to the public on the 2nd of September in a "Grand Opening Fete" which will allow us to showcase our facilities and thank our supporters. Our project is already over 80% funded.
The Park is highly sustainable. We have a long term plan for how we are going to meet the running costs of The Park each year through corporate sponsorship and community fundraising. The annual costs of around £1000 are modest due to the large voluntary input.
We have consulted many organisations including "Action for Communities in Rural England." Of the 450 projects supported in 2016, ours was as one of ten case studies as the "very best of community grass roots action."
Whilst environmental benefits of new native woodland and habitat creation will be enduring, the true legacy is far wider reaching. It includes the new friendships forged across all generations of volunteers, the practical skills being acquired which will last a lifetime, and the enhanced health and well-being of all. A truly remarkable Park.