CHILDREN could be playing on brand new play equipment at a park by the summer holidays thanks to the huge generosity of a community.
Following consultation with schoolchildren, Play Parks for Hayling was set up by residents a year ago in an audacious bid to raise enough cash to refurbish all of the island’s play parks.
In a short time the £80,000 needed to kit out Mengham Park has been raised and work could start as early as March.
The campaign was boosted by a donation of £35,000 by the Veolia Environment Trust towards refurbishing the St Andrews Road recreation site.
The cash was part of a total of £1.4m given away in Hampshire by the trust in the last four months.
Councillor Leah Turner, the treasure of the group, said: ‘This is just brilliant for Hayling. It’s a huge amount of money and we are very grateful.
‘It means that we can start work in the spring, once we have settled on the design we are going with.
‘We will be consulting with Havant Borough Council to make sure we get the absolute best for Mengham.
‘We are hoping that it will be open in August, ready for the summer holidays, but it may even be open in June or July.
‘This grant is a real boost to our fundraising efforts.’
Last year Southern Co-operative confirmed that they will be donating £25,000 to the campaign.
And the organisers of the Hayling to Paris bike ride have also confirmed they will be asking riders to support the play parks’ fund this year.
It means there will be enough in the bank to start fundraising for the refurbishment of the next park on the island – although it has not been decided which one it will be.
Paul Taylor, the executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, said: ‘These grants round off a very busy 2014 for us, with us awarding a total of £6.8m to over 230 community and environmental projects across the UK.
‘This project will bring many benefits for children and we look forward to seeing work start in 2015.’
Anyone who would like to donate should send a cheque only, made out to Play Parks for Hayling, and send it to 15 Nicholas Court, Green Lane, Hayling, PO11 0BQ.
Alternatively, please go to the playparksforhayling.co.uk website.