The most important ingredients of enthusiasm and determination to make it happen were there in abundance
For me the project began in 2014 when I was inspired to transform the recreation ground in memory of my wife Ruth who died suddenly following a routine operation. Ruth worked with children and regularly took our own four grandchildren to the Rec. Following a visit to a then recently refurbished and amazing park in the south, I walked through ours and knew that taking on this challenge would be a fitting tribute and legacy to Ruth.
At the same time a number of parents had recognised the need to improve the Rec. and following a joint meeting, the project committee was formed, a constitution written and committee members appointed. Little did we know what we were taking on, but the most important ingredients of enthusiasm and determination to make it happen were there in abundance.
The first people we spoke to were the Parish Councillors. The Parish Council holds the Recreation Ground in trust and it was encouraging that they also wanted to make improvements, but limited resources prevented them. They gave us full support along with our first donation. In addition a Parish Councillor was appointed to join our project team.
We also knew we needed the community to back our plans and carried out a survey and held public meetings. We gained real motivation from these and knowing we had such support, set about planning the transformation.
The project team worked really hard over the next few years; manufacturers were contacted; plans developed and changed; new features added like the path and outdoor gym equipment and grants applied for. Community communications and consultations continued.
There were times, especially when grant applications were rejected, we wondered if we had taken on too much. Thankfully the Parish Council was able to make a further significant donation and we were successful in our bid to Veolia for a large grant. I must admit to a few tears of joy when I received the call telling me we had been approved! I knew then that we really could make this happen.
Of course many others made donations. These included local businesses as well as individuals raising money through sales and events. The project team was delighted to run the tea tent at the Crich annual fete when so many people made fantastic cakes for us to sell. We were moved on many occasions by individual donations, some in memory of loved ones. This was the community really coming together.
We originally thought we would need to raise £60,000 to £80,000 but in the end we have raised over £150,000.
Whilst the major work is now complete we still want to carry out some landscaping, including planting the banking (on the gym equipment side) with wild flowers and also finish the circular bench area. The Parish Council Trustees continue to support this.
Led by the Project Team our community came together to transform an old but much loved recreation ground and develop a great community facility.
It just shows what can be achieved when we work together!