A much-anticipated children’s play facility in Scotter is now ready for action with its official opening ceremony held on Monday. Thanks to donations from a number of organisations, including £20,000 from British Steel’s Landfill Communities Funding scheme, the village is enjoying brand new play equipment for all ages including a climbing wall, monkey bars and a double zip line.
Johanna Williams is a member of British Steel’s Community Steering Group. She said: “The steering group was very happy to make a contribution to support this valuable community project and it was a pleasure to be invited to join the formal opening. From what I’ve seen today, I’ve no doubt local children will make the most of this fantastic equipment over the coming months and years. And the timing is perfect too with the play area being opened just in time for the school holidays.”
Children from the area who will benefit from the equipment have seen the transformation over the recent months, with the removal of the tired, old equipment and the installation of the new. Some of the children also joined in the opening ceremony, which was led by Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields Committee (SWMPFC) Chairman Richard Barwell. In his speech, he thanked Martin Ely, Project Lead for the Play Area, for his huge efforts to source the £125,000 funding, which has included applying for grants and helping organise village fundraising events including the popular annual duck race.
Martin said: “It’s great to see all our work come to fruition and to see the kids enjoying themselves. There were some additional challenges along the way – like Brexit and Covid – but we got there! I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the people and organisations that have helped out – without their support this would not have happened and now we have a great facility in the village that’s been built to last for many years.”
With the contractors’ fencing removed, children of all ages – including our own Community Steering Group members Johanna and Martin Welch – finally got to try out the equipment. Ewan, 11, said: “My favourite bit is the climbing frame, it’s got lots of things to do on it, I really like the monkey bars.” Toby, 11, added: “It’s way better than the last play area, there are a lot more things to do – overall, it’s lots of fun!” And Millie, also 11, said: “I like the bucket swing because it goes higher than the other ones! The new area is better designed as it’s not as cramped as the old one.”
With the continuing impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives, health and mental wellbeing are vital. Martin Welch, who also sits on British Steel’s Community Steering Group, is a qualified mental first aider. He said: “The importance of equipment like this should not be underestimated. Having the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and enjoy this play area with friends will really help support the youngsters’ wellbeing. Mental health is a topic close to my heart, so I’m particularly proud and pleased we were able to support this project.”