New Play Parks for RAF Halton and Community

Three new play parks were opened in early February 2015 around the Tedder Road and Haddington Road areas of RAF Halton. One of the areas is a Multi Use Games Facility (MUGA) which is an interactive play area.

Funds were provided by the Station’s Local Investment Grant, (LIG), the Community Covenant Grant and Section 106 Funding, which is a fund all developers pay into if they have built and sold homes. Station Community Development Officer, Wilma Kingsbury, applied for the grant through Wendover Parish Council and the final total donated by the three charities was just over £480.000.

Wilma said: “Some of the land belonged to Annington Trust so we had to gain permission from them to use the space. Local people were surveyed to ascertain what sort of things they wanted to see and an open evening held for all to have their say. I quoted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) in my funding bid, which gives all children the right ‘to rest and leisure; to engage in age appropriate play and recreational activities’, it states that: Play is a key element in children learning to appreciate, assess and take calculated risks, which is fundamental to the development of confidence and abilities in childhood. Children seek out opportunities for risk-taking and this is highlighted at RAF Halton by low level anti-social behaviours. It is therefore crucial that RAF Halton’s play provision responds with exciting and stimulating environments that balance controlled risks and encourage healthy lifestyles appropriately.

Children from Halton Combined Primary School attended the opening with head teacher Sue Scrimshaw, who is planning a bulb planting event to fill in the borders of the play parks.

Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Burns, who performed the opening ceremony, said: “The play park situated between the military and civilian housing areas reinforces the strong links we have with the local population here at RAF Halton.”

Explaining how resilient the play park equipment has to be, Trevor Lafferty, representing the installation contractor at the opening, said: “We’ve installed around forty installations around the UK military; the equipment itself is from Finland, where slow growing wood is used in the manufacture which will be good for 15 to 20 years.”

The LIG has provided a number of welfare initiatives for the Station such as furniture and electrical items for crew rooms, new seating areas for one of the recruit welfare facilities for graduating trainees and their parents, provision of furniture and furnishings for a common room within the Supply and Movement trainee’s barrack block and four large floor mounted fans in the Burnett Gym.