Top Yorkshire philanthropist's four-figure donation for Harrogate village's playground

A North Yorkshire village playpark is putting smiles back on local children's faces thanks to a parent-backed fundraising campaign and a major donation from one of Yorkshire's richest developers.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:28 pm
Playground refurbishment - Lewis Stokes of The Banks Group with Mary and John Hopkins of the Almscliffe Villages Community Association.
Playground refurbishment - Lewis Stokes of The Banks Group with Mary and John Hopkins of the Almscliffe Villages Community Association.

Over the last two years, Almscliffe Villages Community Association has been working towards funding much-needed improvement to the community garden playpark at North Rigton, to the south west of Harrogate, which is owned by North Rigton Parish Council.

The refurbishment project has been supported by a two-year community fundraising campaign plus funding from from the Liz & Terry Bramhall Foundation.

Planned enhancements included replacing old play equipment that was beginning to fall into disrepair and bringing in new items that could be used by older and disabled children.

Chairman John Hopkins said: “The park has always been well used, but quite a lot of the equipment was beginning to show its age and was getting to the stage where it was going to have to be replaced, rather than simply just repaired.

“Local parents were also asking whether they could get some new equipment that kids between six and ten years old would be able to use to go with the equipment we had for younger children, while we also wanted to make it accessible to every young visitor,"

The proceeds of a community fundraising campaign run by the Association and a grant from the Liz & Terry Bramhall Foundation covered around three-quarters of the project costs – and now, a £4,200 grant from the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund has enabled the fundraising target to be reached and all the hoped-for work on the project completed.

New equipment includes an activity cube, a tyre activity trail and a basket swing, while the floor of the playground has also been fully overlain with a new rubberised surface which meets the latest safety standards.

Chairman John Hopkins said: “We didn’t have the money in the bank to simply get on with the job, but the fantastic response to our fundraising campaign from both the local community and our donors has enabled us to create something that we know will be extremely popular with generations of village children.

“The support we’ve had from The Banks Group enabled us to finish everything properly that we wanted to do, rather than having to miss out on the final details.

"There’s been an absolutely brilliant response from both parents and kids to what we’ve done – we’ve seen a daily stream of kids coming out of school and into the park, and it’s fantastic to see their smiling faces and hear how much fun they’re having."

Founded in 2009, Almscliffe Village Community Association works to provide facilities for recreation or other leisure time activities which improve the quality of life and experiences of residents in the Lower Washburn area, to the south west of Harrogate.

Banks Property is the developer behind the Castle Hill residential development at Pannel Ash in Harrogate and recently opened a new office near Harewood House as part of its plans to increase its presence across the county.

Anyone interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should contact the fund manager via [email protected] or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.

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