A lot more than just swings and roundabouts

Jane Jackson, chairperson, Claire Thornton, committee member, and Coun David Sykes of the Pocklington Area Playgroup at the Victoria Road park.
Jane Jackson, chairperson, Claire Thornton, committee member, and Coun David Sykes of the Pocklington Area Playgroup at the Victoria Road park.

It is seven years since an independent local group of parents and residents got together to do something to provide children’s play areas in the town.

Although numbers have fallen, the Pocklington Play Area Group is currently looking at its latest project which is to provide outdoor gym equipment at the West Green skatepark site, which it created in conjunction with the town council.

Coun David Skykes, deputy mayor, who is facing his second term in office as the town mayor, said despite now having only five members the group is a strong as ever. He is the council representative on the group and has been associated with it for most of its life. With him on the committee are Jane Jackson, chairperson, Richard Lister, secretary, Dawn Stone, treasurer, and Claire Thornton, committee member.

“In the early days there were many more members and it was more active, but the truth is I think we have achieved almost everything it set out to do, so we are a bit less active and only meet about every two months but our financial situation is still quite good. It is a simple fact that you cannot go on providing more and more play areas, for one thing there isn’t the land,” said Coun Sykes.

From the outset the group’s aim was to raise funds to buy products and play park equipment for youngsters in Pocklington at three key sites of Broadmanor, West Green and Victoria Road. All of them were created from scratch by the group’s volunteers. Through fundraising and grants and donations they raised more than £26,000 over the years to give children and families these much needed facilities.

“Without the group’s efforts none of this would exist, there was just never the funding to pay for it,” said Coun Sykes who together with the group spearheaded the project to get a skatepark at West Green which opened in May this year. They have recently added some seating for spectators and aim to keep adding or improving equipment at all of the sites.

In the past money was raised in a variety of ways, among them Halloween and Christmas parties. Their best fundraisers at the moment are car boot sales held twice or three times a year at West Green which helps boost the kitty. The committee responds to what it perceives to be a need, for example swings for disabled children, and through consultation. Once in place, playground equipment is maintained by the town council.

“It is very much a community effort and we have been grateful for people’s generosity and that of a number of organisations including Pocklington Rotary Club, Pocklington Football Club, town mayor, Bettys in York, United Services Club, Local Funding Network and Pocklington Town Council.

“Without these facilities youngsters would have nothing to do, there isn’t even a youth club in the area,” said Coun Sykes.

Although its activities have slowed in recent years the Play Area Group would welcome some extra helping hands. “Anyone can be a volunteer, for example we could use some extra volunteers to help with our car boot sales,” said Coun Sykes. Anyone who would like to help or wants to donate to the cause or just seeking further information should contact him on 07519 822110 or 01759 306844.

WHERE THE MONEY WENT

2008/9 Construction of Victoria Road Play Park £13,750

2010 Removal of diseased trees at Primrose Wood £587.50

2012 Construction of Broadmanor Play Park £3,283.94

2013 Artificial grass on Broadmanor Play Park £1,000

2014 Pocklington skatepark £4,400

2015 Nest swing for Victoria Road Play Park £ 2,576

2015 Goal posts for Broadmanor Play Park £562