Play park in Southwick reopened thanks to community effort

Owner of the estate Mark Thistlethwayte opens the playpark in Southwick  Picture Ian Hargreaves  (151661-1)
Owner of the estate Mark Thistlethwayte opens the playpark in Southwick Picture Ian Hargreaves (151661-1)
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THERE were celebrations all round as a community marked the official opening of its revamped playpark with a ceremony.

Southwick and Widley Parish Council officially re­opened its newly-refurbished playpark in Southwick with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The project, which started five years ago after inspections reported that the 25-year old park equipment needed replacing, has seen £26,000 spent on making the park more attractive, fun and safe.

Cllr Jim Watson, parish council chairman, said the council worked with schools so children could be involved in planning a wish list.

Cllr Watson said: ‘The proof is now as it’s being used by the children of the village.

‘The children are now definitely claiming that area as their own.’

As well as renovated swings and surfaces, the park now has a zipwire, springers and a rotating cone climber.

Cllr Watson said: ‘The zipwire is most exciting – not that I’ve been on it yet.’

Parish councillors Cindy Hatcher and Sylvia West worked on the project.

Cllr Hatcher said the park used to attract awful remarks but since the refurbishment the response has been good.

She said: ‘I’m relieved that it’s actually open, and the children love it.’

Marilyn Ling, 68, of Downend, helps to run Southwick Parent and Toddler Group.

She said: ‘Parents are looking forward to using it as when you’re in the village, you have to have somewhere to take your children.’

The whole community pulled together to help raise the money to get the new equipment and many organisations donated.

Cllr Hatcher added: ‘To raise enough money to do it is great. We are thankful.’

The £26,000 project was completed with the support of Aspen Waite, Awards for All ­Big Lottery Fund, D-­Day Memorial Hall, Hampshire Playing Fields Association, Heathfield Contracting, Southwick Church Toddler Group Southwick Estate, Southwick Village D-­Day Revival and SS & SA.