Last week I went to see Harry Taylor, Great Waldingfield Parish Councillor, to find out about the plans to improve play facilities for children in the village.
Harry, with other members of the Parish Council, has been working hard on this issue for some time. I know that their first task was to ensure that the existing equipment meets safety standards, and in this connection, Colin Spence, as county councillor, has given some of his location budget to pay for some improvements. The play equipment is old however, and really needs replacing.
In the old days I suppose one just went along to a manufacturer and bought a swing, a slide etc. Times have certainly changed today however, and far more than this is involved in order to achieve the best result for the village.
The replacement of the equipment is really a major undertaking which needs a lot of detailed research and planning. Harry has clearly spent many hours of his time perusing brochures, meeting representatives of equipment manufacturers, drawing up plans for the site, seeking estimates, making sure that like is being compared with like etc. etc. etc.
Some of the possibilities are very exciting. Today it is possible to acquire innovative and attractive play equipment which, once installed, should give great pleasure to several generations of children. However, a good scheme does not come cheap, and the Parish Council will have to look beyond its own resources to fund the programme. Grants are of course available, and once an estimate has been accepted and a supplier chosen, accessing these will be the next step.
There is also the need for people in the village to get more involved with the project to ensure that what is planned is what is needed. A poster competition is being held at the school with the aim of finding out what the children would like to see. There is also likely to be a need for fundraising in the village. It is hoped that a meeting with parents and other interested parties will be held in early 2009. In the meantime members of the Parish Council will be happy to answer your questions.