Young dad keen to make sure North Walsham is ‘go to’ place for playgrounds

Matt Smith has volunteered to get funding and more interesting play equipment for North Walsham's pa

Matt Smith has volunteered to get funding and more interesting play equipment for North Walsham's parks, including the Memorial Park. Pictured with his wife, Katie, and son Rory, who's nearly 17 months old.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A young dad has volunteered to help his home town become a Mecca for families looking for the best playgrounds.

Matthew Smith wants North Walsham's parks and open spaces to offer the most varied, imaginative, high-quality range of equipment possible.

And Mr Smith, 30, of Hall Lane, has pledged his time and energy to make it happen, offering his services to North Walsham Town Council.

He already has expertise in the field, having helped Sheringham's Woodfields School, where he works as business manager, raise £150,000 to provide play equipment for children with special needs.

Mr Smith, who has a 16-month-old son, Rory, said the equipment in North Walsham's parks had either been installed many years ago, or was non-existent.

'I want to get away from conventional swings and slides and have some innovative and different ideas - maybe different exercise equipment, trim trails, sensory items, things which encourage role play, colour, tactile equipment, activity boards, ball mazes, puzzles, embedded chimes, drum kits and other musical instruments,' he said.

It was vitally important to involve schools and to make sure the finished results were inclusive, so that children of all abilities could play together as equals - not forgetting a bench for parents and grandparents.

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'I'm not dissing what the council has done, but it could be a lot better,' said Mr Smith.

'I want to work with the council to make North Walsham a 'go to' destination. I've asked them: 'How can I help?' I'm very keen.'

Now town councillors have co-opted him on to their development and amenities committee.

Mr Smith said feedback from residents had been supportive and he was keen to hear people's ideas.

He hopes to approach local companies for cash, or help, as well as grant-giving bodies.

Mr Smith added: 'I think our children - and their children - deserve the best.'

Contact Mr Smith via email at nwalshamplay@yahoo.co.uk

Is your community involved in a project? Contact alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

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