Friday, 21 December 2007

Lottery grant means play facilities for rural children

A £200,000 National Lottery windfall means play areas and mobile rural play facilities can be developed for children in West Somerset.
The district council has secured the cash for its play strategy from the Big Lottery’s Children’s Play Programme.
A similar £208,682 grant went to Taunton Deane Borough Council, while Sedgemoor District Council was awarded £230,000.
West Somerset portfolio holder for children and young people, Councillor Eddie May, said: “We are delighted at the successful bid because of the huge benefits play facilities bring to children’s enjoyment, well-being, and health.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from officers and partners, and we are really pleased at the positive outcome.
“This money has not been secured for the council, but for our children’s futures.
“With our play strategy, we will be able to encourage and support communities and individuals to improve their quality of life by identifying and providing better opportunities, particularly for children.”
Three projects in the council’s play strategy will benefit from the grant, including the appointment of ‘play rangers’ which will be delivered in partnership with Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor.
The councils will employ a team of play rangers to oversee the development of play facilities.
A second project is the development of Cross Farm Park, in Alcombe, to offer better play facilities for children, which will be delivered in partnership with Minehead Town Council.
Most of the district’s rural areas will also benefit from the boost which will be provided for mobile play facilities.
Leisure, culture, and recreation portfolio holder Councillor Neil Parbrook said: “This is a welcome boost for children’s facilities in the area.
“Play is a vital part of children’s development and this will help provide them with a stimulating environment to grow up in.”
The Lottery grant provides funding for the projects for the next three years.
District council’s community specialist for children, young people, and culture, Janice Malarkey, said: “I am delighted with the result of the Lottery application. We are looking forward to working with the play partnership to successfully deliver these projects, which will greatly benefit children and young people in West Somerset.
“We would like to thank the play partnership, Play England, and Barnardos for their hard work and support during the production of the play strategy, which can be found on the West Somerset Council website.”
Taunton Deane leisure executive Councillor Richard Lees said: “I am delighted that we have obtained this amount of money and in partnership can now plan to provide a play structure for young people.
“Play is so important in creating imaginative minds, and being physically active in a controlled environment, allowing children to be themselves and enjoy their childhood.”
Wiveliscombe, Milverton, and Norton Fitzwarren will all be among the villages to benefit from the project.
For more information on the play partnership in West Somerset, log onto or contact Janice Malarkey on 01984 635238 or email Janice on

  • Pictured at Cross Farm Park, Alcombe, are (left to right) West Somerset Strategic Partnership chairman Loretta Whetlor, Minehead Town Council clerk Sue Sanders, CLOWNS chairman Jan Ross, district council community specialist for children Janice Malarkey, and leisure portfolio holder Councillor Neil Parbrook. Photo submitted.

  • Mind in Taunton and West Somerset has received a £1,070 grant from the National Lottery’s Awards For All scheme.
    The money will be put toward an IT work area in the Peace of Mind day project, allowing service users access to online resources and word-processing and printing facilities.
    One-to-one training will also be available for those who are less computer literate.

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