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Pumpkins and play gets £1,965 ‘chill-out’ boost
Buy this photo » Children at Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground
A BUSTLING play area where children can grow pumpkins as well as play on swings has been saved thanks to a cash boost.
Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP) was given £1,965 by Oxfordshire County Council as part of its so-called chill-out fund.
Organisers of the playground in Blackbird Leys Road has said it will help ensure it has a programme in place for autumn and winter.
It will use the cash to replace equipment and plan for the future.
BLAP secretary Sue Price said: “There was a point in the summer where we were unsure, but this cash has been a huge help and has basically saved us.
“We can now look forward to our winter programme.
“The after-school club has started a garden that is growing vegetables and the members are very protective of their pumpkins.
“We’ve expanded what we can offer and are really looking forward to being able to offer more.
“It’s a case that we are often living hand-to-mouth trying to get one grant at a time, so this really was a huge bonus and a relief for us.”
Pegasus Road mother-of-two Jane Anderson, 36, said: “You rarely get a playground with a vegetable garden so it is good that there is something different for children.
“The allotments are hugely popular in the Leys so we might have the next Alan Titchmarsh on our hands if they can keep going.”
The playground in Blackbird Leys Road was closed in December 2008 and looked doomed before the Oxford Mail stepped in.
In November 2011, a £6,590 grant from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the Oxford Mail’s parent company, brought the defunct playground back to life.
Since then it has thrived and grown as a place for children to play, and is in the process of applying to become a registered charity.
Until then, however, it relies on generous handouts to stay afloat.
But the managers of the playground are planning ahead and aside from out-of-term and holiday days out, they are planning a new project soon for 8 to 13-year-olds.
Seven organisations applied for payouts from Oxfordshire County Council totalling £23,148 from the chill-out fund, which supports groups providing services and activities for young people.
For more information about Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground, contact 01865 747704.
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