Community leads call for Play Provisions
Calls from a local community triggered Calderdale Council and the Elland & District Partnership (EDP) to focus efforts on raising funds to renovate a tired ballcourt that had been in place on James Street since the 1960s.
The EDP was founded in 1999 originally to promote business development in the region but in partnership with the Council, the EDP has driven the regeneration of facilities and businesses in the district.
The need for the James Street renovation was identified following complaints from residents about anti-social behaviour, litter and rubbish, and the poor condition of the existing play equipment that was known locally as “the doss”.
With the support of Calderdale Council, the EDP, that includes representatives from the police, local councillors and local residents, was successful in securing £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund through the People’s Millions initiative.
The funding was awarded to improve, promote and extend the opportunities for play and recreation for children and young people in the area, and now the residents of Calderdale are enjoying the benefits of Sutcliffe Play’s innovative new multi-use games area (MUGA).
Children from The Brooksbank High School played a major role in securing the funds by making a video to show the local community why the revival of the ballcourt was essential to the community. The school now plans to use the MUGA as an extension to their own sports facilities.
Additional funding was secured through Section 106 planning gain funds and the EDP’s own funds, which has helped make the new MUGA a destination play facility with children coming from the surrounding boroughs to enjoy the facilities.
The consultation process involved members of the EDP arranging door to door visits, school surveys and open EDP meetings. Children and young people all stated that whilst they did not use the current run-down ballcourt they would use an upgraded facility. The EDP wanted the project to build community spirit by involving local children and residents in all aspects of the redevelopment. They wanted to provide a place for families to meet, and for children and young people to have fun in the heart of their community.
Once the main Lottery funding, plus the EDP’s own contributions, were in place, the EDP appointed Calderdale Council as its contractor for the project. The Council was able to help with detailed specifications, and to provide specialist advice on the tender process, as well as being able to secure the funding element from within the Council.
Mick Wilby, Playgrounds Manager from Calderdale Council comments; “The Elland & District Partnership is one of the most vibrant community groups that I work with, it really is testament to them that the James Street project progressed and is proving to be so successful.
“It was clear from early on in the tender process that the Sutcliffe Play MUGA was perfect for James Street. Its unique sound insulation system was ideal for the area due to its close proximity to housing, and I’m sure our planning and environment office would fully support the project as it meets the current standards on sound.
“We’ve received no complaints from the local community throughout the whole process highlighting just how much the community has embraced the project.”
Joe Braithwaite, Chairman of the EDP comments; “We’re delighted with the new ballcourt and the response from the local community. Just to see children and young people of all ages playing on it together shows how much the community needed this.”
Sutcliffe Play’s new MUGA was developed following extensive consultations with local authorities, specifiers and manufacturers to meet the needs for a ball court system that not only used good quality and environmentally friendly materials but was durable, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing.
The system incorporates a number of contemporary features, the most innovative being a sound insulation system, ideal for areas where noise may be a problem for residents, making it ideal for the James Street project.
Carolyn Harrison, Area Sales Manager at Sutcliffe Play comments; “A key part of the brief was to reduce the impact of noise, but with the objective of increasing the opportunity for children to play in the residential area.
“We successfully achieved this goal, developing a suitable piece of play equipment, which also conveys our passion for the environment.
“The ball court systems we created use only the most environmentally friendly, recyclable components available. For example, our rubber is 30% recycled and like our galvanised steel, at the end of the products life, the rubber and steel are almost 100% recyclable.”
For further information visit www.sutcliffeplay.co.uk