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Zipwire and trampoline part of £50,000 park improvements

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More than £50,000 is to be spent on improving the children’s play area at Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, thanks to the fundraising efforts of dedicated local volunteers.

The cash will be used to make the play area at the park bigger, with plans to put in a large sunken trampoline and a zipwire as well as a wheelchair accessible swing and a trim trail.

The Friends of Mary Stevens Park celebrate the news

The total cost of the first phase of the park improvement scheme is around £55,000. Of that, £50,000 has come from a successful bid by the Friends of Mary Stevens Park to Enovert Community Trust, an environmental body which supports community projects.

The Friends group has committed £5,000 match funding and made a further successful application for grant funding through the Norton, Pedmore & Stourbridge East and Wollaston & Stourbridge Town community forum.

Work is expected to take place this winter, with the play area out of action for a few weeks so that the new area can be ready for the busy spring and summer period.

With the plans are Friends group members (back, left to right) Rachel Morrison, Francesca Boden, Rachel Tween (front, left to right) Mark Gadd, David Lewis, Naomi Maltby, Rachael Philpott and MSP parks ranger Deborah Merrick

It is the first phase of planned improvement works for the play area. Plans are also proposed to install more swings and new multi-play units at a later date as part of the second phase, subject to funding being secured.

The play area improvement volunteers within the Friends of Mary Stevens Park have worked closely with Dudley Council’s parks development team, with many hours given to consultation and meetings to develop the plans. The friends group have consulted regularly with the public to shape the plans and find out the priorities of local young people.

Mark Gadd, chair of the Friends of Mary Stevens Park, said:

The local community has really banded together to bring this project forward.
The volunteers are made up of local people who are parents of or care for young children and they use the park regularly. They really care about meeting the play needs of a wider age range, providing an inclusive play space and listening to the priorities of park users.
We are thrilled to have secured the funding for the first stage of the play area improvements, and we are hopeful of future fundraising success to enable the completion of all the planned improvements.

Alan Lunt, deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, said:

The play area at Mary Stevens Park is hugely popular with families, who I’m sure will welcome this investment to bring in some exciting new equipment for children in the borough.
Our parks and play areas are a great free way of helping children stay active and this investment will be beneficial to the whole community.
Thank you to the friends group volunteers for their countless hours of hard work to ensure this exciting play area development can happen.

Anyone interested in joining the Friends of Mary Stevens Park, or interested in developing a similar project in their local park elsewhere in the borough, is welcome to attend future meetings. Email marystevensfriends@gmail.com for more details.

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