Target smashed for play area

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A community is celebrating after smashing its £26,000 target to buy new play equipment for a recreation ground.

The Gorsey Bank Residents’ Association has been working for the past five years to transform the recreation area in Gorsey Bank.

As part of the first phase of the transformation, they managed to raise around £55,000 to buy new equipment to cater for youngsters aged between eight and 13 years old.

After raising a further £26,000, the association is now able to press on with the second phase of the project with the help of Derbyshire Dales District Council, which will see the installation of equipment suitable for younger children.

Wirksworth town councillor Andy Pollock, who is on the residents’ association committee, said: “Five years ago kids hardly used the recreation ground, there was nothing to attract them and it wasn’t the sort of place you wanted to have in your community. Now it’s fantastic.”

Cllr Pollock said he hoped the new equipment, which will include swings and slides, will be installed in the early part of next year.

He gave his thanks to everyone who helped with the campaign, including district councillor Irene Ratcliffe and county councillor Garry Purdy, the district council’s leisure officer Les Warren and Johnny Rowlatt, from the residents’ association.

Wirksworth Town Council pledged £14,000 towards the play area project, while the district council secured £2,000 from Acclaim Housing and contributed £2,094 from its Playbuilder fund, and Exton Trust donated £6,000 to the project.

Chairman of the district council’s communities committee Cllr Carol Walker said: “We are delighted to be leading on this second phase of development at the Gorsey Bank play area.

“The district council’s ambition is to get children across the Dales more active and it has been great to work with the Gorsey Bank community, where young people and their families helped to identify the equipment they wanted.

“The residents’ association has done a great job in looking after the new equipment installed last summer and our target now is to get phase two up and running next year, hopefully in time for Easter.”

Cllr Pollock said the community hoped there would be a third phase for the recreation area, which would see barbecues and a fitness track installed in the area for older people to enjoy.