November 3, 2014 | Community News
New facilities for older children are being added to a play park in a north Newcastle village after the community group driving the project secured a second tranche of funding from a regional employer. The Hazlerigg Action Group has been working towards raising the money needed to replace an existing, rundown play park with something more suitable for local children for more than six years.
As part of the project’s development, local families visited a number of play areas in surrounding communities to help local children compile a wish list of equipment they hoped to eventually see in their park.
The first phase of the project was completed last summer with the opening of a play park for younger children next to the village’s community centre and memorial hall.
Most of the cost of this work was met through a £30,000 grant from The Banks Group, via the Community Fund linked to its nearby Brenkley Lane Surface Mine, and Banks has now provided a further £7,250 from the same fund to help the Group add further facilities for older children to it.
These will include a new set of swings, a low ‘supernova’ roundabout and the safety matting on which they need to be installed, and it is hoped that they will be in place before the end of the year.
The Action Group carried out extensive consultations with people living near the play park about the second phase of the project to ensure any concerns about the possibility of anti-social behaviour were properly addressed, even though no such issues had previously arisen in the area, and a direct contact number for local police has been provided to enable any such problems to be easily reported if they ever occur.
Louise Fairley of the Hazlerigg Action Group says: “The local response to the first phase of the playpark has been absolutely brilliant – we’ve had no problems and nothing but praise for what it’s done for the community, and we hope the second phase will be just as enthusiastically received.
“All the way through this project, we’ve worked hard to involve as many members of the community as possible, most and especially those who live near the playpark, so we could address any questions or concerns they might have about what we were planning – the overall response has been fantastic and everyone has bought into what we’re looking to achieve.
“Banks’ generous support has already made such a big difference to the area, and this latest round of funding will mean even more of our young people will have access to much-needed local play facilities.”
Banks currently employs over 200 people across the Brenkley Lane and nearby Shotton surface mine sites, which jointly contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, as well as more than £400,000 in annual business rates to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council.
They have also enabled Banks to donate around £800,000 to local groups and good causes in Northumberland over the last decade alone through the Banks Community Fund.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, says: “The new Hazlerigg play park has quickly become a very well used asset by families across the community, and extending what’s available to a wider range of local young people will only make it even more popular.
“The members of the Hazlerigg Action Group has shown just how much can be achieved by setting a clear target and working relentlessly towards it, and we’re very happy to again be part of helping them realise their goals.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects, with funding decisions made independently of the planning and project development process. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.