Swannington Play Area Ltd Progress Report


The Play Area Grand Opening on Saturday 14th August saw dozens of villagers gather to enjoy the new equipment, try their hand at various games and peruse a number of car boot offerings. Children also had chance to try out Shotokan Karate with Danny Jordan from Martial Arts East (and Swan Close).

Teas, cakes and savouries were all provided by the fantastic team from St Margaret’s with total proceeds from the event reaching over £500. Proceeds will be split between the Play Area and the church, to be used for ongoing maintenance costs.

JUNE 2020:
A significant grant from Biffa Award means that children in Swannington, near Reepham, and surrounding villages will finally be able to enjoy a fully-equipped play area once again, more than three years after the original equipment was removed.

Following a safety inspection in June 2017, wooden climbing structures and two sets of swings were condemned having reached the end of their usable life. Since then, a small committee of seven volunteers have worked tirelessly to resolve legal ownership of the site as well as identify and apply for funding in order to redevelop the site.

Now, villagers are celebrating as new equipment is set to be installed this summer. Swannington Play Area Ltd, a not-for-profit limited company set up specifically for the project, has secured a £58,000 grant from Biffa Award, a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

Along with smaller donations from two local charities, the grant will fund a redevelopment project including a range of new equipment identified by a doorstep survey of local residents to create a wish list, with a zip wire, swings for different age groups and a new slide.

Speaking about the substantial grant from Biffa Award, Laura Marfell-Williams, director of SPA Ltd said: "Outdoor play is so important for children, and in a tiny village like Swannington the play area is even more valuable as it gives families a place to meet up. The redevelopment funded by Biffa Award will have a really positive impact on families from our village and the wider community.”

Lucy Mutimer aged 7, whose mother Helen is the committee treasurer said: “It’s really exciting that we are going to have a new play area. I can’t wait to try out the zipwire.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, said: “At times like this it is more important than ever that we continue to support projects that build communities, like this new play area for the children of Swannington and surrounding villages. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to see children enjoying the new facilities.”

It is hoped that the redevelopment will be complete by September, at which point the committee plans to host an opening celebration (subject to social distancing regulations in force at that time).

MARCH 2020

Our latest fundraiser, an Indoor Car Boot Sale held jointly with St Margaret’s Church PCC on 29th February, raised £270 to be split between the two causes.

Coffee morning pic

Many thanks to all those that bought, sold and enjoyed homemade cakes. Despite rather dismal weather, we enjoyed a great turnout with lots of old and some new faces and are looking at dates for a similar event in the early summer.

A new look ready for a new start (fingers crossed!)

We are pleased and relieved to say that our full application for funding for the new Play Area has now been submitted to the Biffa Award scheme!

We now have an anxious wait to hear whether we have been successful…which may come later this year or may not come til February 2020.

As part of what we hope will be a new era for the Play Area, we have a new logo which incorporates the slide that will continue to be a main feature. Other equipment that we hope to have installed as part of the redevelopment includes a zipwire, various swings and an adventure climbing structure, along with a toddler springer and two picnic tables (so it will look a little busier than in this picture!).

play area pre-revamp

We are continuing to fundraise in the meantime, as there are always ongoing costs to cover like insurance, mowing and moles. We are very grateful to our friends at St Margaret’s and Swannington Lunch Club for their help with joint ventures, and to all of you who support our efforts by coming along to coffee mornings, book sales, photo sessions and more.

Hopefully in 2020 we will be able to organise some events at the new-look Play Area to celebrate the new equipment!

If you would like to get involved (especially if you are new to the village) please contact Laura on 861 300, email swannington@btinternet.com or message us via the ‘Swannington Goes Social’ Facebook page.


Swannington Play Area redevelopment continues to move forwards. We have now selected a preferred supplier for the new scheme and are submitting initial applications for funding.

In the meantime, please help us to make the most of what we do have at the Play Area by keeping it clear of rubbish. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy a picnic but there has been a noticeable increase in litter left behind over the summer months. Please use the bin located just outside the gate on Swan Close, or take your rubbish home with you.

Pop-up Pet Portraits, Upgate Common
Sunday 13th October

Bring your pet along to be photographed in the beautiful natural surroundings of Upgate Common. All proceeds to Swannington Play Area redevelopment. £25 per session, includes supply of up to 5 high-res digital images within one week of the shoot.

More details on how to book in the next issue or follow Swannington Goes Social on Facebook.

JULY 2019 Record-breaking year for Swannington in Bloom!

This year’s open gardens day was officially our best yet, raising over £8,600 to be split between the redevelopment of the Play Area and upkeep of the church.

Over 900 people visited, supported by almost 100 helpers from in and around the village – thank you all!

MAY 2019

A new business in Swannington!

The village play area is now under the management of Swannington Play Area Ltd. Not as great a change as you might think – the current directors are existing members of the Play Area Committee, who will continue to manage the play area as previously.

What has changed though is that this has allowed us to formally lease the Play Area site from the Parish Council, which in turn means that we are eligible to apply for the all-important funding to finance redevelopment of the site.

We are currently acquiring updated quotes for new equipment in order to submit an application for the majority of the project cost as a single grant – fingers crossed! We have also been busy working with the PCC to co-host their Easter coffee morning, and will also be running various activities at the play area during Swannington in Bloom – thank you for your support with our events past, present and future, we really do appreciate it.

If you would like to get more involved with the Play Area redevelopment, please contact Laura on 861 300 or email laura.marfell@btinternet.com

MARCH 2019
New Play Area for Swannington – latest update

The Play Area Committee and Parish Council have been hard at work putting the necessary structure in place to make the redevelopment of the play area a reality.

The Play Area will now be managed by ‘Swannington Play Area Ltd’ (effectively the Play Area Committee by another name!). By becoming a registered company, we have been able to formally lease the play area site from the Parish Council. This in turn makes us eligible to apply for more funding and grants from various private and public sector organisations.

So far we have received a £5,000 donation from the Lind Trust which helps to meet other eligibility criteria, but with an overall target of £60,000 we still have a long way to go!

Our bids for this funding are due to be submitted within the next month to the top targets that we have identified. If we are successful, the site could be redeveloped as soon as early summer.

The equipment that we hope to have installed includes a climbing frame, various swings and a zip wire. For more information, please see the display in church or at the new noticeboard at the play area.

We will also be running a series of Easter-themed crafts and games at the Coffee Morning at St Margaret’s Church on Saturday 13th April – please come along and support this event.

And if you have any questions about the project, or would like to get more involved, we would love to talk to you. Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th March and new faces are always welcome. Call Laura on 861 300 (evenings/weekends) for more info.

JUNE 2018

The plight of our play area has made the local papers! http://www.derehamtimes.co.uk/news/

Article and images reproduced by kind permission of Archant.