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Community delight as Kendal playground opens

Members of The Friends of Abbot Hall Playground with South Lakeland District Council members and officers and other guests at the opening on Sunday

FAMILIES turned out in force to help celebrate the opening of a fantastic revamped playground.

Abbot Hall Playground in Kendal was officially opened on Sunday after a community effort to raise money to improve the site.

The Friends of Abbot Hall Playground – a group of local parents – worked with South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) to provide a new and improved playground at the town centre park.

Members of The Friends of Abbot Hall Playground at the opening on Sunday

SLDC granted £20,000 to the project’s £125,000 total cost through its Locally Important Projects grant scheme and the Friends secured other donations and grants from the likes of South Lakes Housing,  Kendal Town Council, Tesco, the Freda Scott Trust, the Hadfield Trust, Cumbria County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund. Thirty thousand pounds came from a successful grant application from SLDC to The National Lottery Community Fund for a total of £200,000 to support eight playground projects in the district.

On Sunday, there were speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the event, as well as fun activities like face painting and bubble blowing. The play area designers, Proludic, provided goodie bags and funded free ice creams for the children.

Youngsters having fun on the new equipment

SLDC Chairman Councillor Stephen Coleman said he was proud to be opening such a fantastic new facility in the heart of Kendal after two years of work starting with a questionnaire and a meeting in the playground, which led to the creation of the Friends of Abbot Hall Playground.

Cllr Coleman paid tribute to Friends members Melissa Lovett, Kirsty Cryer, Toni Sheriff, Liz Lawton, Susi Pool and Martyn Bland and said: “They kept going when it got difficult and are the reason we have such a fantastic playground. On behalf of all the children and families that will use this playground – thank you.”

He added: “‘It is important to have the playground here not just for residents but visitors to Kendal. It is important to get the community involved because it is their asset and it is great to see a sense of partnership and the community pulling together and making things happen.”

Melissa Lovett, chair of The Friends of Abbot Hall, said: “The friends have been fundraising hard for two years, so I am pleased to see the result and that it was all worth it.”

Kirsty Cryer, treasurer of The Friends, said: “It’s wonderful, I’m so pleased with the playground now. Before it was really dated and I didn’t like to bring my children here, we would drive to other play areas in the district. SLDC’s parks team worked so hard to help and we have been getting fantastic feedback from the public. There is a buzz about it, a good feel now it is finished.”

Council leader, Councillor Giles Archibald, said: “This is yet another example of the ‘golden age’ of play areas in SLDC and us working collaboratively with communities to improve local facilities. I am delighted with new play area, it is a great example of collaboration across all tiers of the council.”

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