Appeal launched to raise £100,000 for new play equipment in Bideford

North Devon Gazette

With the support of Torridge District Council a new community action group has been formed in Bideford with the aim of raising £100,000 for play equipment in Victoria Park.Â

The group’s initial goal is to give the facilities around the flagship ‘Bidefort’ complex a complete makeover, including new equipment for both younger and older generations, as well as improving access and play opportunities for people with additional needs.Â

Later phases will also look at the refurbishment of the nearby toddler park and separately new equipment for the steel park, which is geared towards older children.Â

The direct crowd funding appeal is the latest initiative from the community group, which has been working on a range of activities to support the project.Â

The extra money will supplement the £20K already earmarked from Torridge District Council funding sources and donations of around £10K each from Bideford Town Council and The Bridge Trust.Â

The Community Group will also have the opportunity to apply for a full range of national grant funding schemes, not available directly to the council, providing a route to further sources of money over and above existing play area spending from Torridge.Â

The organisers are also hoping to encourage more local people and users of the park to get involved in its reshaping and design as well as supporting the appeal for donations.Â

Local resident and businessman Robin Glover chairs the community group and he and his family have been regular users of the park in recent years.Â

The premise for the fund raising is that even with very small donations of just £1, if they collect this from everyone, the target will be achievable.Â

While the fundraising is underway the next steps will also include some initial scheme designs to be presented to the public with opportunities for them to vote or comment on their preferred options.Â

It will also include outreach work through schools to get the views of local children, so that their ideas can be fed into the designs as well.Â

Bideford, Victoria Park, Community Group Chair Robin Glover said: “I decided to get involved in this project as I felt like others that Victoria Park is such a great asset for Bideford but desperately needs a makeover and upgrading. From our research it was clear that many grants and funding sources can only be accessed via a community style group, which also allows us to launch a direct crowd funding appeal. The group are working proactively with the council and have been really pleased with the level of engagement. We now want people to help with the funding appeals and also to get involved developing the ideas that will reshape the park.”Â

Torridge District Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin Lead Member for Community Culture and Leisure said: “While the council have provided the majority of the funding for the park in the past, through working with the local community group to raise even more funds, we now have the opportunity to create something really fantastic! We are so grateful to Robin and the other volunteers for stepping forward, getting involved and for all their hard work to get to this stage. I would like to encourage others to join them and get involved in developing ideas for the various schemes and also encourage others to donate whatever they can afford to help us build an amazing space for children of all ages and abilities to play in and explore.”Â

For more information on how to get involved or how to donate head over to the Community Groups Facebook page – ‘Bideford, Victoria Park, Community Group’ or contact Robin Glover on or Torridge District Council Project officer Adrian Avery atÂ

You can donate here -