Village fundraisers are rewarded as new play park opens

Offwell's new play park

Offwell's new play park - Credit: ORG&VHC

After five years of planning and fund raising, Offwell’s new play park has been officially opened by Damien Richards, secretary of the Offwell Recreation Ground and Village Hall Committee. 

It was back in 2016 that the committee decided to replace the old play park with its well-used contents. In March 2017 a sub-committee was formed and the long arduous business of fund raising began.

Two village families, along with villagers from outside Offwell, started hosting Big breakfasts, cream teas, gardeners’ question times, school competitions, quiz nights, pie, mash and pint – the ideas and events just kept coming in.

The sum of £4,500 had to be raised before match funding could be applied for; a long, slow process but we made it to the finals with Avia, receiving £1,000, followed by £2,000 from Tesco’s Community Grants. Towards the end of 2017 carol singing was held in the Sports & Social Club and this attracted around 70 villagers - a great event to finish the year off. 

With Covid arriving in 2020 we had to seriously rethink our initial aim to raise £66,000. With so many fund raising ventures closing their doors, and even the monthly donations from Offwell Fish n’ Chips ending, it was decided to approach a local company, Design Create Play Ltd., who could design bespoke play structures at a more affordable  price. 

At the end of 2020 local businessman, Rich Dare, delivered 60 tons of top soil and CSW Groundworks very kindly completed all the ground works for free. By April the soil was seeded and the area was hand rolled by young men from the village. We were nearing the end - but then came the wood shortage and increase in costs.  

There were some great challenges along the way but we finally made it and couldn’t have asked for better weather at the Grand Opening in September, a day we shared with Offwell PTFA’s Summer Treasure Hunt. By Bonfire Night the final piece, the Pirate Ship, was in place and the Play Park is now complete; something to be proud of and loved by all the children that visit. 

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A massive thank-you to everyone who helped and supported us over the last five years, no matter how big or small, because  without you there would be no play park for our children to enjoy.