Adventure playground dream comes true as group gets £51,000

DELIGHTED Friends of Leesland Park in Gosport have secured �50,000 funding for new a children's play area. From left: Keith Percival, wife Hilary Percival, Phil Sandall, Jan Rapetti, Szilvia Farkas, and Lauren Miller.    Picture: Paul Jacobs (110638-1)
DELIGHTED Friends of Leesland Park in Gosport have secured �50,000 funding for new a children's play area. From left: Keith Percival, wife Hilary Percival, Phil Sandall, Jan Rapetti, Szilvia Farkas, and Lauren Miller. Picture: Paul Jacobs (110638-1)
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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A NEW adventure playground is to be built in Gosport after a community group won tens of thousands of pounds in grants.

The Friends of Leesland Park has been awarded £41,000 from the national Community Spaces programme and £10,000 from Gosport Borough Council.

Work will begin on March 7 to transform the park into an adventure playground.

The improvements will see a hexagonal hut, suspension bridge, climbing nets, swings, mazes and boulders added to the park landscape.

Club secretary Philip Sandall said: ‘There was a strong feeling there could be more for young people to do. People said they would like to see more activities and things.

‘There was a lot of hard work involved in putting the bid together.

‘I’m so pleased we’ve been successful.

‘It’s quite a lot of money for a small voluntary group.’

The Friends of Leesland Park held a public consultation asking residents and schoolchildren what they would like to see in the park.

Their answers formed the basis of the final plans for the new park landscape.

Pupils at Leesland Infant School contributed their ideas directly to the bid after volunteers from the community group visited their school. Mr Sandall added: ‘The kids said they wanted more participatory things, rather than the more traditional single swings that only one child can use at a time.

‘We wanted to offer something a bit different.

‘It’s not going to be your traditional park.

‘They quite liked the idea of big boulders and tunnels to crawl through.

‘We got a good cross-section of people’s views.’

The Friends of Leesland Park will open the new playground in April’s Easter holiday with a party in the park.

Justine Williams, 37, who lives in nearby Whitworth Road, said: ‘I think it’s a brilliant idea.

‘My two kids will love it.

‘They are always coming down to the park here after school.

‘My kids are 13 and 11, so they’re a bit older.

‘It would be good for them to have some things that aren’t just for small children.’