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Mother's appeal to improve Oakworth park
Village parents are each being asked to fork out £5 to help pay for new play areas in a park.
The plea has been issued by a campaigning mother after efforts to obtain funding from Bradford Council failed.
Donations from hundreds of families could kickstart efforts to build a children’s playground and teenagers’ games area at Oakworth .
Oakworth mother Jo Spencer needs £8,250 by November to apply for a £65,000-plus grant from an outside funding body. The matched funding is essential if she is to apply for bigger grants from environmental bodies like WREN.
Mother-of-two Mrs Spencer has gathered more than 380 signatures on a petition blasting the “disgusting” state of the children’s playground in Oakworth’s Holden Park.
Mrs Spencer said: “I feel like everyone is in support of the playground but they say ‘do it yourself’. They’ve said ‘start your own fundraising’.
“Getting £8,000 is the stumbling block – the application needs to be in by November. If you want a park next summer then I need the money as soon as possible.
“Nearly 400 people are supporting me so if they each give me a fiver or a tenner that would raise a few thousand pounds. People pay that to go to soft-play centres.”
Mrs Spencer has suggested upgrading the traditional children’s area, and providing a new multi-use games area (muga) on the old tennis courts. Bradford Council has estimated that the cost of such work in Holden Park would be £75,000.
Mrs Spencer said she was appalled at the Oakworth playground’s condition when those in nearby villages have had thousands of pounds of improvements in recent years.
She said many parents told her they preferred driving their children to nearby villages than using their own park.
She said: “We have the potential of a fantastic, beautiful and safe park right on our doorstep.
“It is obvious that Oakworth Park is in great need of restoration. It is a unique park, yet it is the only park in the local area that has not had his play areas updated.”
In recent weeks Jo has discussed playground ideas with the Friends of Holden Park and council officers.
The Friends plan to consult children. Mrs Spencer has asked the council's Keighley Area Committee to support her plan.
At their latest meeting, members did not agree to provide funding, but said once the playground plans were finalised, they could be considered for possible inclusion in any district-wide play-park strategy.
Council officers warned other neighbourhoods may send petitions and expect similar support.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the appeal can contact Mrs Spencer on 07767 480453 or jo_steve.spencer @btinternet.com.