The Parish Council set up a Working Party to investigate the possibility of creating a Community Playground on Bell Meadow.
The Working Party has now met several times. The first meeting decided that it was necessary to establish community interest and the level of likely usage. This was demonstrated by circulating an agreed questionnaire to every household in the Parish as well as to the School and Tadpoles as interested parties. There were 93 questionnaires returned representing a 30%+ return, of which 23 were from the School and Tadpoles. The returns indicate a child village residency of 27 aged up to 16 years and up to 127 regular children visitors. 88% of the returns indicated that a community playground would be a village asset with a 76% encouragement of use. There were 5 negative responses and with some expressing concern on costs. The questionnaire results were displayed at the Annual Parish Meeting in April 2018 and a presentation was given. The results can be download here: Playground Questionnaire Analysis
The Working Party considered the illustrated factual report on the questionnaire. It concluded that there was a sufficient positive response to proceed to the next stage of inviting three selected suppliers to put forward proposals and costs for consideration. To this end a sub-group was formed to instigate negotiations with prospective suppliers and to consider funding. All proposals received were then refined to the same budget of under £25k. The proposals were available to view at the Bell Meadow Day event in August 2018.
The Working Party/Parish Council then completed a Full Planning Application which is available to view here. Information about the proposals were discussed at Parish Council meetings and reported in the Parish Magazine. Planning permission was granted by Maldon District Council in May 2019.
In October 2019 we held a meeting for selected playground companies to present their ideas to the committee, following on from this meeting, the Working Party selected the preferred company to progress the project.
We launched our fundraising at Bell Meadow Day on 25th August 2019 where we had a stall to display information about the playground and also about the task of raising £25k in order to achieve the project. Some of this funding will be raised locally with events, crowd funding etc and we will also be embarking on a round of Grant applications. The Working Party researched various grant options and considerws how we will proceed with fundraising events. Do get in touch if you have any experience or would like to get involved. You can email: email@example.com
We were delighted to be awarded at £10k National Lottery Awards for All grant in February 2020. Then lockdown happened and all our fundraising events had to be cancelled. We did however continue with Grant applications are were pleased to be awarded £10k Essex County Council Community Initiatives Funding in October 2020. Along with the fundraising and generous donations from The Bell Meadow Village Association, Woodham Walter Women’s Club and other local businesses, individuls and familes we are delighted that we have achieved our fundraising goal.
Unfortunatly when we went to place the order with the selected Playground manufacturer, they decided that they were no longer able to proceed. This left us in a situation of having the money and requiring to invite quotations again. Invitation to Quote documents have been sent to 8 companies with a deadline of 1st December to receive quotes. The working party will then meet w/c 7th December and the Parish Council will be asked to rafity their recommendation at the meeting on 14th December. Following due diligence the order should be placed soon after with a Spring 2021 build date.