Local children from Sidbury Church of England Primary School, as well as those living in Furzehill, Sidbury helped design the play area

Council’s £30,000 play area funding supplemented by generous £15,000 money from Keith Owen Fund

Councillor Andrew Moulding was delighted to open the newly refurbished play area at Furzehill, one of five projects East Devon District Council will be completing this year across the district to refurbish and enhance existing play areas.

The play area was designed with help from local children from Sidbury Church of England Primary School, as well as those living in Furzehill, Sidbury, with over 150 getting involved in East Devon’s consultation exercise. The children’s help was invaluable in identifying the activities they wanted to see in their local park.

The design, manufacture and installation of the play park was carried out by Wicksteed Leisure, an established UK based play equipment manufacturer, who were awarded the work at this site, after a competitive tendering process where suppliers were asked to provide the best design and quality based on the children’s consultation responses.

The council’s budget of £30,000 for the play area was supplemented by the Keith Owen Fund who provided a further £15,000 to enhance the site with a zip wire.

In addition to the play works recently completed at Sidbury, Sidmouth and Honiton, East Devon has allocated over £1million of capital funding during the next financial year to replace and enhance play facilities around the district, with consultation starting with local children for those sites in March.

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon’s portfolio holder for the Environment, said:

This demonstrates East Devon’s commitment to providing good quality facilities to allow our young people to develop their play and social well-being in the outdoors.

Sidbury ward member, Cllr David Barratt, said:

Local resident Dan Turner contacted me about the Furzehill play area. Dan had seen refurbished play areas elsewhere and we both agreed that the outdated and sorry looking play area at Furzehill was long overdue a facelift.

I got the support of engineer Dave Cook and community officer Jamie Buckley and was able to secure the initial funding of £30,000 in the council budget for the work.

Immense thanks should also go to The Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen fund for putting the icing on the cake with their grant for the zip wire.

This shows how a resident can approach their ward councillor and get action. I hope the children really enjoy their new equipment.

Dan Turner, Furzehill resident said:

Thanks to all the children from Sidbury and at Sidbury Primary School for their wonderful ideas and suggestions that have brought the park back to life. This project truly shows what a resident can do for a community, all stemming from my simple email to my local councillor offering my comments on a site that I felt had seen better days and could be afforded a new lease of life for generations of children in the future. I hope the children will continue to love and appreciate the new equipment, but most of all to bring them together, away from computers and into the fresh air.