After much anticipation, the impressive new playground at Langton Matravers near Swanage has been officially opened.
After school on Monday 7th March 2022, the children from St George’s Primary School, along with parents, parish councillors and local residents all gathered to see the ribbon cut. Undertaking the honours were two specially chosen students, Amelia and Reuben who live in the village.
Children, parents, parish councillors and local residents all gather for the official opening
Climbing play trail, swings, a carousel and the very popular castle mound
The complete refurbishment of the play area, in St George’s field opposite the school, was undertaken by the Langton Matravers Parish Council.
The new design includes a climbing play trail, swings, a carousel and the very popular castle mound.
Amelia and Reuben cut the ribbon, assisted by chair of the parish council William Knight
“An investment in our community”
Chair of the parish council William Knight said:
“This is an investment in our community and kids are a very important part of that. The previous playground had been here for 40 years but was no longer safe and had to be removed.
“To take it away and not replace it would have been a great disappointment. I’m delighted with the playground – it’s so much better than before!”
The outdoor play equipment was provided by a company called Redlynch and it is specially designed to avoid the problems of the past, with metal rather than wooden posts that have been sunk into the ground.
Sustainable rot resistant Finnish pine is used for the climbing equipment and support posts.
While the old playground was much loved, parts of the wooden structure had started to rot
The new playground was enthusiastically tested out by the children from St George’s Primary School
“Just four red swings to start with and then it just grew”
The first play equipment on the site was installed in 1983 and the money was raised by the parent and toddler group in the village. One of the mothers at the time was local resident Sally Christie, who came to view the new replacement. She said:
“Back then it was a real challenge for us to raise the funds and get the play equipment installed – it was just four red swings to start with and then it just grew. To fund it we did lots of cake sales and bring and buys – I sold my collection of vinyl records!
“It’s fantastic to see it now with all the improved interactive play equipment. We need facilities for all ages in the village and for young families to feel embraced and to want to stay in the area. This is what builds a thriving village!”
Left to right: Local resident Sally Christie and parish clerk Mary Sparks admire the new playground
“I’m really proud that the parish council has managed to do this”
The Langton Matravers Parish clerk, Mary Sparks was also one of the original mothers kickstarting the playground 40 years ago and remembers it costing £2,000 which was a lot of money at the time. Now, she has also been a main driving force behind the new play area. She said:
“I’m really proud that the parish council has managed to do this. Back in July, we realised we didn’t have enough money to complete the project – we were about £10,000 short, so we appealed to everyone in the village to help.
“With my grandchildren, we delivered leaflets to every home and we were amazed by the response. We had cheques for different amounts from £10 to £500 and it all started to add up quickly.
“I really want to say thank you to all the parishioners who made this possible – a real community effort!
“We’re really pleased that our donation has helped”
The Lottery Fund and the housing association Aster Group both contributed £5,000 towards the project.
Aster Group is building a small development of homes for shared ownership and affordable rent in the village called Spyway Orchard.
Amanda Williams, chief investment officer at Aster Group said:
“It is wonderful to see the village unveil this fantastic new space for family, fun and relaxation.
“We’re really pleased that our donation has helped this local community make the park a reality for all to enjoy, including the families of the 28 new affordable homes we are currently developing in the village.”