The Horton Playing Field Project

Horton, Somerset

Your story

We are dedicated to creating an attractive playing field for all members of the community including children, adults, groups, families and those with limited mobility.

Group introduction

In August 2017 a group of local Horton villagers met to see what could be done about our very tired, uninspiring and underused village Playing Field. It comprised of only a few old swings, a tired small toddler multi frame and a skate park that was in a bad state of repair. There was no seating, the only picnic bench was rotting away and the goalposts were rusty and leaning over. It was unanimously decided that a volunteer Project Group would be formed to make our Playing Field a vibrant new space that embraces and enhances the spirit of our community. A formally constituted community group called The Horton Playing Field Project was created in April 2018 with support from the Parish Council. Our Project Committee is made up of 8 committee members, 41 group members ranging in ages from 3½years to over 75 years of age. We have over 90 active members on our Facebook page. To ensure inclusion for all villagers we also hand deliver a project newsletter to each household bimonthly, consult with various groups in our village and we are about to launch our website. We have held three successful fundraisers, with more booked for the next 18 months and a huge fundraiser is planned to coincide with the Village Hall’s centenary in 2019. These Fundraisers have provided us with a platform to engage and consult the community as a whole. Our Easter Egg Hunt and Afternoon Tea saw over 70 children from the village take part in the hunt, and draw pictures of their vision of the playing field. It was also attended by 100 or more villagers. We have held two breakfast fundraisers run by the committee and a team of volunteers that draws the community together over breakfast, with over 140 people attending each event. Our Parish Council has recently agreed for the Skate Park to repaired, the bins emptied and regular grass cutting. Volunteers & the committee has invested time in completing small park projects such as cutting back hedges, clearing ditches, and repainting the tired existing equipment. We have had immense support from local businesses donating to our fundraisers to help kick-start our project.
Our village is isolated from the main towns with no public transport. Our aim is to provide all residents, including the young, school age, adults, families and groups as well as the elderly to increase their participation in active recreation. Our vision is for all to access and enjoy a well-managed, well maintained playing field and green space for years to come. Through this Project we are actively encouraging our community to volunteer and contribute as it builds important relationships across multiple age groups and will continue to foster in a beautiful place to play, rest and explore.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

Horton is a small village in rural Somerset with over 850 villagers. Our small village is growing rapidly with new developments aimed at not only families, but towards the growing old and frail. Sadly no funding is available for our Playing Field. In consultation with the villagers, visiting various groups, our online survey and feedback from the community, the Committee and a team of volunteers developed a project vision and plan. Our Project Vision is over the next two years is to provide in incremental stages, an attractive green space and recreational facility for our entire community. This will include a walking/ cycle trail for the younger children and the elderly to use; a Pre-school age toddler sensory area to stimulate learning and safe play; a climbing multi-frame with slide for school age children to help promote play and make contact with each other; exercise equipment for all villagers, particularly adults and the elderly to improve their health and fitness; utilize the football pitch for various ball games including football, hockey, basketball for families and small local community groups ; maintain the existing skatepark for all to facilitate confidence and self-esteem and provide a beautiful landscaped area with a willow tunnel, seating, picnic tables, BBQ’s, and grassy mounds with a natural playground for all to enjoy and appreciate for years to come. The grant would enable us to purchase a much needed picnic bench to replace the existing one that is rotten to be situated within our new landscaped area, and the remaining portion will be put towards the communities first choice in our recent poll of a new nest swing to be installed on the playing field.
As funding to maintain community space continues to decline, we are acutely aware of the need to ensure that the playing field must be efficient to maintain. The new Project Plan has taken into account the use of natural playscapes that are cost effective to install and maintain in the long term; use of recycled materials to reduce our footprint particularly in the purchase of new seating and tables which have a long lifespan; and careful selection of the materials used on the new equipment to ensure they are structurally secure. The Project Committee and its volunteers are passionate about ensuring the longevity of the Field for future generations. The focus will be to ensure its continuation through community fundraising events to maintain the momentum of the community spirit, the fostering of relationships, the willingness of all ages to volunteer for the ongoing maintenance of the Playing Field and most importantly the USE of the Playing Field.

"“The Horton Playing Field Project has created a vibrant sense of community spirit where all are keen to be a part of the regeneration and renewal of our Playing Field, providing a lasting space for future generations to enjoy and be proud of ” Raymond Buckler – Project Chairman."

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