The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disproportionate harm to the education, social lives and mental wellbeing of so many young people and children. It has highlighted how vitally important it is for the youngest members of our society to be able to play and engage with their peers in safe environments outdoors.
The play equipment in the recreation area in Blakeney had proved to be a lifeline for many local families during the time our freedom to travel further afield was restricted. However, in early 2021, it was deemed unsafe following an annual safety inspection and had to be removed at short notice, leaving only a swing as an opportunity to play for a community of 250+ children.
To address this need, several local residents formed the Blakeney Recreation Community Group. Our aim is to create a new playground to provide children in the village and surrounding area a place to catch up on many months of lost interaction with their peers, to reconnect with their local outside spaces and to rekindle an enthusiasm for outdoor play and exercise.
Our first task was to find out via a survey what the community wanted in a future new play area, and the children at Blakeney School also completed a separate questionnaire. We received a fantastic response and the feedback has been invaluable in setting us on the right path to develop a play area that truly reflects the needs of the community.
Children at the school also participated in a competition to design a logo for the new play area. The wonderful winning design by Isla MacLachlan in year 6 is shown at the top of this page.
Since then, we've been busy liaising with potential suppliers over designs and applying for numerous grants to enable us to reach our goal.
Please see the Fundraising and Get involved sections below for further information about how you can help the cause. Your support means a lot to us, and the new play area will be an invaluable resource for the children and families within our community.
Autumn Fundraising Fair for Blakeney's New Playground (30 October 2021 at Blakeney Recreation Area, The Butts, Blakeney, GL15 4DY)
Please join us for this fun event from 11am on Saturday 30 October 2021 to help raise as much money as possible for the new playground. The fair will feature a bouncy castle; a Halloween costume competition; pumpkin carving; toy, sweet and craft stalls; a raffle and tombola; drinks and hot food; and much more. It promises to be an enjoyable social event for all the community after what has been a very tough couple of years.
We'd love to see as many of you as possible there to support this worthy cause. Please spread the word about the fair and encourage your family and friends to attend and donate.
We'd be grateful for any donations to the tombola, such as biscuits, bags of sweets and small toys. Blakeney School have offered to collect these until Thursday 21 October from any families wanting to contribute.
We'll soon be selling raffle tickets, which can be bought from Blakeney Village Post Office and local volunteers. Prizes include a £50 Amazon voucher, a £30 Railway Tandoori voucher, a bouquet of fresh flowers from Foxglove and Moss, a Forest of Dean Tyres MOT voucher, 4 Lydney Panto tickets, coffee and cake for two at Hips Social in Lydney and many more.
If you're able to lend a hand on the day or beforehand to help with the preparations, please contact us at email@example.com.
Donations to the cause can be made via Our Wonderful Page
When you shop at Tesco in Lydney or Coleford, please vote for the 'Blakeney Recreation Community Group' in the community fundraising box by the exit using your blue tokens. The number of votes we receive determines how much money the Tesco Community Grants Scheme will contribute to the playground, with a chance to receive up to £1500.
Easy Fundraising turns your everyday online shopping into free donations. Retailers signed up to the network include M&S, Argos, John Lewis, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Aviva and many more. Visit easyfundraising.org.uk 'New Playground Equipment for Blakeney' .
We are also registered on Amazon Smile. Shop at smile.amazon.co.uk, select 'Blakeney and District Recreation Centre' as your favourite charitable cause, and Amazon will donate to the play equipment fund at no cost to you whenever you shop on the site.
Forest Lottery is a weekly lottery that raises money for good causes in the Forest of Dean. Buy tickets from us here for the chance to win up to £25,000 and, in doing so, add to the playground fund.
We've been awarded a grant from the Forest of Dean District Council to develop a nature trail around the recreation area that will complement the new playground and be a valuable resource for all members of the community. We're hoping that children at the school will be involved in this project once the plans for the trail are more developed.
This project is still in its early stages, but we envisage that the trail will include various features such as a willow arch, bug hotel, wildflower meadow and fairy village, and that it will incorporate some seating.
We're looking for volunteers. Anyone with a knowledge of the natural world, trail development or traditional crafts, or indeed anyone who would like to be involved in designing and creating the trail, is welcome to contact us for further information.
If you are interested in joining our community group, volunteering at the fair or helping to create the nature trail, we would love to hear from you.
Join our Facebook Group for updates