CHILDREN in Tunbridge Wells received an extra special Christmas present this week with the news that the Calverley Adventure Grounds has been given a £50,000 boost, putting the project on course for a summer opening.
Over the last eight months, volunteers have been working to generate money for the new playground in the town centre with a target of £225,000 to be raised by March.
They have now come within touching distance, following a grant of £50,000 from The Veolia Environmental Trust. The funding raises their current total to £148,000, with just £77,000 to go.
“This is the best Christmas present that the many volunteers working on the initiative could have asked for,” said Kate Bourne, Trustee and Fundraising Director.
“So many local children will benefit from the exciting and innovative play space, which will be located in the town centre’s historic park.”
Trustee Project Coordinator Rhiannon Harfoot added: “This really puts us in a wonderful position to be able to raise the remaining £77,000 in time to build the Adventure Grounds by the summer.”
The aim of the community-led venture is to transform the site of the former bowling green, now ‘an unloved corner of the town’, into a new play space for children.
Fundraising initiatives have included an Easter Eggstravaganza that raised £3,000, a Black Tie Dinner that generated £28,000, and the Great Jam Jar Challenge that saw schoolchildren collect £6,000.
Veolia awarded the Friends of Calverley Grounds [FoCG] a grant of £50,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund. The grant is one of 33 to community and environmental projects in England, part of a grant total of over £1million.
FoCG’s Sarah-Kate Tempest said: “The play area will be a place where children of all ages and abilities will be able to let their imaginations run wild. We cannot wait to see work start and, perhaps more importantly, finish.”
The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support this exciting and innovative project. Our application process is a competitive one, so FoCG must be congratulated on their success.”
Rhiannon Harfoot added: “We are extremely grateful to Veolia, and hope this latest news will encourage local families and businesses to add their names to the Calverley Community Wall to help us complete the project on target.”
Renowned public artist Gordon Young has designed the Calverley Community Wall to recognise all those who have sponsored the project.
People can have their business or family name designed by Gordon to fit across a number of Corten panels mounted along the wall adjacent to the site.
Corten is a rich-hued material, used in landscaping, architecture and sculpture, and was chosen as a subtle reference to the iron-rich Chalybeate Spring that helped found Tunbridge Wells. Sponsorship starts from £175 for an individual name.
For more information about the project, visit: www.calverleyadventuregrounds.co.uk