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Community effort makes playground dream a reality

Marj Waddecar from the Greenbank and Castlefield Residents’ Association holding the £20,000 cheque from the National Lottery Community Fund, with SLDC Chairman Councillor Stephen Coleman, County Councillor Will Clark (far right) and local children, including 10-year-old Leo Price (far left), who cut the ribbon to open the new playground.

A community has been praised for coming together to make a new playground a reality in Ambleside.

A two-year fundraising effort by the Greenbank and Castlefield Residents’ Association, working with South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), resulted in the grand opening of the fully refurbished Greenbank Road park on Saturday (2 November).

Speaking just before Greenbank Road resident, 10-year-old  Leo Price, cut the ribbon to officially open the new playground, secretary of the residents’ association, Marj Waddecar, said she had been overwhelmed by the support from the local community to make the dream a reality.

She reserved particular thanks for Emma Brood, the local resident who first suggested the idea of fundraising to improve the Greenbank playpark, as well as her fellow members of the residents’ association, all those who funded the park and officers at SLDC who helped with the grant applications and design processes.

Residents and children enjoying the new playground at Greenbank in Ambleside at Saturday’s official opening

Mrs Waddecar told the families, children and well-wishers who gathered at the opening: “I have always said this is the prettiest street in Ambleside and this is down to you, the local people who live here.’’

SLDC led a consultation on a new playground in 2017 and since then the residents’ association has raised £75,000, with local fundraising including holding a family fun day and a sponsored event last year, ‘Get Will Up a Hill’, to push Ambleside’s county councillor Will Clark up Helvellyn in his wheelchair.

Funding applications resulted in several grants towards the £75,000 total, including £20,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund and £30,000 from SLDC, made up of a £20,000 Locally Important Projects (LIPs) grant and £10,000 from capital funds, as well as contributions from Ambleside Rotary, Ambleside and Kirkstone Rotary, Kelsick Trust, Lakes Parish Council, Windermere and Ambleside Lions, Holehird Trust, Frieda Scott Trust, South Lakes Housing, Paver Shoes, Ambleside Sports, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund and Cumbria County Council.

Guest of honour at the opening of the new park, Chairman of SLDC, Councillor Stephen Coleman, thanked Marj Waddecar and the residents’ association for their efforts and said the park was a fantastic example of the council and community working together to deliver real results.

Councillor Coleman added: “This shows just what can be achieved, it is something that will be enjoyed by children for years to come.’’

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