Two determined West Norfolk mums have successfully gained £30,000 of funding to help transform their village playground.
Claire Reeve and Julia Thorne, of Gayton, have spent the last year fighting to improve local facilities for younger children.
Both mums have children aged six and under and were having to travel to Pott Row to use the equipment there, because although Gayton had a play area for older children in Lime Kiln Road, including a skate ramp, there wasn’t much for under eights.
The two women, who together run the village’s Little Scamps mother and toddler group, launched a petition and worked with the parish council to secure the funding needed to install a range of exciting new equipment.
The money was eventually secured thanks to a £30,000 grant from WREN, a not-for-profit business which awards grants for community projects.
“I’m quite proud of what we have achieved for the village and hopefully we have made it better for other young families that come into Gayton,” said Mrs Reeve, who is mother to Keira, 6, Lara, 3, and Harrison, who is 20 months old.
“It will be a place for families to meet or have a picnic and will make a big difference for the village.”
The two mums approached the parish council last year and were asked to prove there was a need in the village.
They organised a petition, which was placed in local businesses, and reported back to councillors with huge support.
They then worked with the parish council, particularly councillor John Currey, to organise surveys and bid for funding.
Speaking about the new play area, Mr Currey said: “It will be excellent because these two ladies have definitely identified something in which the village was lacking.
“Lots and lots of people have young children and we had about 60 or 70 names of people on the original petition who thought it would be a wonderful idea.
“When we put it out as a formal survey we got about 120 names, which in a village this size is excellent.”
The council formed a working group, made up of councillors and residents, and held a consultation in the village.
A tendering process saw several manufacturers of play equipment submit proposals and residents voted on which they thought was the best.
Work to fit the new equipment, aimed at children aged 18 months to eight years, began at the end of July and is scheduled to be completed next Friday.
“It’s quite exciting at the moment,” said Mrs Reeve. “We keep walking down there to have a look at it being built.”
When it opens, youngsters will have new activities, including a climbing frame, balance beams, slides, swings and a roundabout.
There will also be equipment designed to stimulate imaginative play, including a small train and a wooden stall-type structure.
The area will be safely fenced to be kept separate from the village club’s car park.
Mr Currey said the revamped play area would now cater for both older and younger children.
He added: “The whole family will now be able to enjoy time together at the playing field.”