People power: After four years of fundraising and hard work community gets to enjoy new play park

Thetford mayor Terry Jermy opens the new Redcastle play park with, left, Poppy Warnock, aged eight,

Thetford mayor Terry Jermy opens the new Redcastle play park with, left, Poppy Warnock, aged eight, and Lola Holt, aged nine. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

There were smiles and laughter as parents finally got to see their children enjoy using a previously unloved play park after tirelessly raising the money to renovate it.

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A play park has always been in St John's Way on Thetford's Redcastle Furze estate.

However residents said for a number of years it has been unusable and has fallen prey to vandals.

But four years of fund-raising by the Redcastle Action Group (RAG) - made up of 10 dedicated people who live on the estate - raised £6,000 to put towards funding the construction of a new play park.

Their efforts helped to unlock a £13,080 grant from Breckland Council - and with £20,920 given by Thetford Town Council, children can now enjoy the £40,000 park which includes a basket seat swing, slides and roundabout.

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Donna Warnock, a member of RAG, said: 'It feels amazing. It is the biggest achievement and we have been working towards it for so long.

'It means a lot and it is nice, because I have lived in the estate for seven years and my kids have never been able to play on it [the old park].

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'Raising the money was hard work. It is not easy because all of us work and we have kids but we managed somehow to find a way to do it. And it was worth it.'

After ribbons were cut at an opening ceremony, children from Redcastle Family School recited poems they had penned about the park.

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The new Redcastle play park in Thetford. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Town mayor Terry Jermy said: 'It is about time Redcastle got a play area it needs and it deserves. It was an incredible effort by the residents on this estate.

'For me, what has been achieved here demonstrates what the local council working with the community can do.'

The town council now owns 11 play parks. Councillor Brenda Canham, who is chairman of the amenities committee, said she hoped the actions of the Redcastle residents will give motivation to other communities to fund-raise to improve their facilities.

'It was an achievement to raise £6,000,' she said. 'The residents have worked hard. Hopefully when other people see this, they think: 'We could do this'. Others [parks] will be given a make-over and then as the residents start working with us, we can start changing the equipment.'

Have you got a Thetford story? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

What did the Redcastle Action Group (RAGs) do to raise the money?

They held three fun days at the Redcastle Family School and at Meet Up in the Redcastle Furze Community Centre

Hosted an East event which included a magician and eggs donated by the community

Christmas craft fairs

Cake sales

Table top sales with handmade crafts

And secret donations of a couple of hundred pounds have also been given

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