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Blog posted on 20th October 2017 by Steve Danby
As a village with no play facilities or common ground where children could come together and play, Follifoot was in need of a safe space for children to be active and continue to learn.
Having been offered the land by a local land owner and resident of Follifoot, the village residents were able to take advantage of the space and with our help, it’s in the process of being transformed into the desired multi-use facility.
Our work with Friends of Follifoot Wildlife, Recreation and Play Area (FOFWRAP) began in the summer of 2016 when a member of our team first provided expert funding advice to the committee. Throughout the process, our team guided the committee through their funding bids which resulted in generous donations from a number of sources including WREN and Awards for All. The dedicated FOFWRAP team pulled their efforts together and displayed exceptional community spirit.
In the second week of September, our team began the challenging construction of phase one of the play area in time for the official opening just a year later! Despite the adverse weather conditions, the play area was successfully completed in time for the residents of the village to come together for a fun-filled picnic day.
The outdoor space will be split into four areas to incorporate facilities that will benefit all members of the community. These areas are to be completed in phases in order to make the fundraising targets more achievable. The facility will include activities and areas for all age groups to learn, develop, keep fit and improve wellbeing. As well as a play area, there will be a fitness trail, a sports area and a nature area.
During the design process, a unique sense of character was added to the outside space through the contribution of ideas from local children and residents. Children from local schools created pictures of their dream play areas and the design team made some of these ideas come to life. The design of the area was also adapted along the way to ensure that the completed installation would fulfil the children’s ideas and imaginations.
The history of Follifoot is also represented in the space to add a bespoke and personal touch. The play area features horse springers which were installed facing each other to reflect the village name which translates as “place of the horse fight”.
Although the landscape was on a slight slope, the design team took advantage of this by creating fun features including roly poly hills and mounds. Honeycomb lawn matting was the surface of choice, creating a natural appearance without destroying the grass underneath. The rubberised play surface will protect children from fall heights of up to 3.3m and means that children can continue playing during the muddier months!
Requiring little maintenance, the area ensures a durable foundation to build on. In addition, the area features a wide winding pathway which will improve access to all areas of the field and allow accessibility to each area in all weather conditions.
Follifields Wildlife, Recreation and Play Area will feature a variation of traditional equipment that will appeal to all ages and this is just a small list of what you might find:
Pia Cox, a member of the FOFWRAP committee commented: "Follifields was a project that was years in the making! Playscheme have been a large part of making sure Follifields become a reality; helping us set a reasonable, achievable budget and providing ideas of how to set about it. In fact, their funding advice was invaluable, helping us receive thousands in grants. We have found Playscheme easy to work with, very supportive (even with some tight deadlines!) and they really did care about our project.
"Follifields is a fantastic asset for the village and is already being used and enjoyed. The wooden pieces fit in with the rural setting and we are pleased with both the quality of the timber and the aftercare support Playscheme offer. Playscheme's design appeals to a wide variety of ages; all the equipment is popular and the fort and basket swing are probably the busiest. It's wonderful to finally have somewhere local to go and we are already fundraising to add more equipment in!"
Local resident Sofia, aged 8, also commented: "It is awesome that we now have a playground in Follifoot. We actually have somewhere to go now to play with our friends. My favourite is the fort because there's lots of stuff to do on it."
The residents of Follifoot came together as a community to create the unique space which is now being enjoyed by all. The equipment for the fitness trail has been ordered and will soon be installed to provide an area for children and adults to get fit whilst having fun! Keep an eye on our blog for the latest developments.
If you’re looking to transform an outdoor space into the centre of the local community, we’d love to be involved in your project! Get in touch today for a free, no obligation appointment and quote.