The hope that a village green can be transformed rests on a newly launched Crowdfunder.
The community of Broadwindsor wants to raise the £20,000 needed to transform the green village of Bernards’ Place.
The project, if successful, will provide community open space, stimulating and inclusive play facilities and physical exercise for all, right in the heart of the village.
“The plan is almost three years in the making, but we are determined to make it happen,” said Sheila Hawkins, who worked with the late David Leader to set up the scheme for Comrades Hall, which owns the ground.
“It will be a fitting tribute to David, who died suddenly earlier this year. He made such a difference in the community and sporting life of the village and brought everyone together.”
The village’s green program is part of a successful bid for the National Lottery Community Fund. This grant secured total funding of £84,000 (including funding from Low Carbon Dorset) and £45,000 was allocated to upgrading the green village. The remainder funded improvements to make Comrades Hall more environmentally friendly, with the installation of 36 solar panels and an air-source heat pump central heating system, which replaced the old oil-fired one, as well than better insulation.
Planning permission has been granted for exciting new play equipment for the upper part of the green. At the lower end, the existing old swing sets will be removed and a new oak-framed shelter will be installed. The idea is to make the most of the open space for community events and outdoor exercise.
Since the project was first mooted two years ago, costs have risen by around £20,000.
Margery Hookings, leading the Crowdfunder appeal on behalf of the Comrades Hall Management Committee, said: “Fundraising events are planned but we really hope local people and businesses will support our appeal to fill the gap.
“During the pandemic, when we could only go out to exercise, our green village became even more important to us as a community.
“Bernard’s Place is something we all cherish. By reconfiguring the space, adding new inclusive and stimulating play and activity equipment, introducing exercise sessions and equipment for all ages, as well as organizing community events, there will be something for all of us. to enjoy, bringing people of all ages and abilities together, and helping to improve health and well-being.
“It will provide an enhanced facility to keep our community physically active and encourage others, who may not necessarily consider themselves ‘athletic’, to join us.
“Local artist Donna Heys has again kindly created a ‘thermometer’ to track the progress of the appeal. As donations are received, the artwork will be colored, in stages, until we achieved our goal.”
Sport England have pledged £8,000 for the appeal once the £5,000 mark is reached. The payout of the grant is contingent on having at least 100 unique supporters and reaching the £20,000 target.
The village has a strong fundraising track record through Crowdfunder. In 2020 Broadwindsor Cricket Club raised £35,785 to buy their ground, with 191 supporters in 27 days. And in February this year campaigners raised £34,760, with 337 supporters in 28 days, to reopen The White Lion as a community pub.
Margery added: “We understand money is tight and this new call could be a tall order after the successful campaign to save The White Lion.
“However, through crowdfunding, we have the ability to unlock potential additional funding, so any donation, large or small, will go a long way to helping Comrades Hall replenish dwindling resources.
“It is important for the village to carry out this project. We all know, especially after the pandemic, how vital outdoor space is to everyone’s health and well-being. It will make such a difference for young and old, and everyone in between, for generations to come.
To support visit crowdfunder.co.uk/p/broadwindsorvillagegreenappeal