The creation of a new children’s playground in Aireville Park is about to begin – with the first phase due to open by Christmas.
Work is getting underway from October 8, when contractors will start landscaping the area of the park between the zip wire and the bandstand, in preparation for the new equipment to be installed.
Craven District Council and the Friends of Aireville Park have raised a total of £160,000 so far, with generous grants and donations from a range of organisations, businesses and individuals.
Fiona Protheroe, chairperson of Friends of Aireville Park, said: “We’re so excited that work is starting on this fantastic new playground which we’ve been working towards for so long.
“We’re so grateful to all those who have supported and sponsored our fundraising campaign and we can’t wait to see our dream become reality.”
Councillor Linda Brockbank, Craven District Council’s lead member for Resilient Communities, said: “We’ve been working hard with Friends of Aireville Park to get the funding in place and I’m delighted to see the work is about to begin.
“Together with the Friends of Aireville Park we have already made huge improvements to the park over the last few years, with a new skate park, pump track and zip wire which are all extremely popular. This new play area will transform the park even further and create a wonderful place for families to visit for many years to come.”
Skipton BID have given a grant of £7,500 to the playground, which will pay for a “Wobbly Sheep” play sculpture and musical play equipment.
Geraldine Thompson, Skipton BID manager, said: “This is a brilliant project which will benefit residents of Skipton and beyond, and attract more visitors to the area. We’re very happy to support the new playground and hope to see it filled with families enjoying themselves very soon.”
Walk For Jodie, set up in memory of Jodie Willsher, has raised almost £5,000, which will pay for the playground sandpit and a bench.
Fi Jenkinson, who organised and took part in a Yorkshire Three Peaks walk, alongside members of Jodie’s family and friends, said: “We’re really pleased to have raised so much, to provide a lasting memorial to Jodie. We’d like to say thank you to all the businesses and people who have sponsored us and made donations for our fundraising raffle – everyone has been so generous.”
The first phase of the playground will also feature equipment including a toddler climbing frame, swings, a turntable roundabout, a climbing tower, a sandpit, a climbing castle, rope bridges and climbing nets, a den-building area, basket swing, dragonfly and butterfly play sculptures and a log trail.
A second phase, which will follow when the council receives around £60,000 from planning gain, will include a larger climbing frame and a multi-play unit, a spinning swing, scramble nets and more play sculptures.
While work is taking place the main path in the park will be closed from the bandstand up to the bollards at the top of the path. An alternative access through to Skipton Academy and Craven College will be available via the steps or the ramp down to the Craven Leisure car park. Skipton parkrun will be able to take place as normal.
The council has contributed capital funding of £15,810 to the project, along with £52,791 of planning gain, with a further £62,500 of planning gain which will go towards Phase Two of the project.
A zip wire has already been installed at the top end of the park, paid for with £12,000 from Tesco Bags of Help. The Tesco scheme has also given another £4,000 grant to provide a wooden tractor in the play area.
Yorventure gave a grant of £48,700 to the project, and several local businesses and members of the community have also been sponsoring or making donations towards the new play area, including local companies Holt Doctors Ltd, J N Bentley, Mewies Solicitors, Peter Watson Ltd and Skipton Self Drive Hire, Keelham Farm Shop and Walker Foster Solicitors.
Nick Rickerby, director of RKB Electrical Ltd, has just made a donation of £500 and Skipton Craven Rotary have donated £813, both to pay for benches in the area.
Skipton Ukulele Club have also been fundraising for the Friends of Aireville Park and have raised almost £1,000 for the scheme.
Businesses and residents can still sponsor a bench, donate a tree for a loved one, or fund a piece of play equipment.
Businesses can also choose to have a plaque or memorial tree charm and business logos on the sponsors’ board as a permanent recognition of the support.
Please email Bruce Dinsmore (email@example.com) to enquire about either donating or sponsoring the scheme.