A £100,000 new playground has been opened at South Norwood Lakes thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of local residents.
Thornton Heath-born Olympian, Donna Fraser, was amongst those who attended the launch event to congratulate the team behind the project. The Lakes Playground Action Group (LPAG) have been working closely with the council for several years to improve play facilities in the area. They developed a project plan and set themselves the £100,000 target, which was met thanks to funding from a range of different sources.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said, “This project has been a showcase of a community-led campaign that has delivered a stunning all-age children’s playground. LPAG should be rightly proud of their achievement, and the council has been equally proud to support them in their efforts.”
LPAG members did a range of sponsored activities, local councillors contributed £2,000 from their ward budgets, and the council also provided £24,000 of Section 106 planning development money to support the scheme. Generous contributions of £39,500 from the Veolia Environmental Trust and £19,500 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust made up the bulk of the rest of the funding.
Paul Taylor, the Executive Director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, adds, “We were glad we could provide support through the Landfill Communities Fund for the improvements, and it is great to hear that the play area is now open and already being enjoyed by many. This project is an excellent example of how local residents can come together to realise the change they want to see for their community.”
Additional help was provided by Tesco’s ‘bags of help’ scheme, which donated just over £4,500, and sponsorship of £350 each from Brown & Greens and North Music Ltd. Local estate agents, Pedder, contributed £1,000, and thanks to public votes the Lloyds Bank Community Fund helped out with another £2,000.
The installation of new play equipment was overseen by the Council’s education project management team, and the official opening took place on Saturday 10 June. Vanessa Potter, LPAG’s Chair, said: “We set out with a ten-point plan, and it’s brilliant to see the playground finally open. Back in 2013 we formed a committee and applied for charity status. After that we made sure we spoke to as many people as possible and worked with the council to draw up detailed plans and set a realistic fundraising target. We started small by applying for small pots of money and running a crowdfunding campaign, and this allowed us to then apply for larger grants. It’s taken time – but seeing the children using the equipment at the weekend means it has all been worth it, and we were thrilled to be joined at the opening activities by Trustee of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, local Olympian, Donna Fraser.”