Harpenden playground with no slide successfully transformed by community

Town mayor Brian Ellis, Lady Verulam & cllr Teresa Heritage and local children reopen the park

Town mayor Brian Ellis, Lady Verulam & cllr Teresa Heritage and local children reopen the park - Credit: Archant

It was once a forlorn-looking playground with no slide.

But now the thorough transformation of a neglected park in Harpenden has resulted in a full range of equipment to encourage local kids into the great outdoors - including a brand new slide.

Members of the Southdown play areas working group gathered on Saturday (19) to officially open the modern playground at Oakley Road.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, a member of the group, said the event was ‘exciting’ as it marked the end of “an exhausting 18 months of hard work by the team and the community.”

She explained that the charitable group was formed after an extensive consultation within the local area, ‘basically’ prompted by the removal of a dodgy slide several years ago due to health and safety concerns.

Cllr Heritage added: “Since September 2014 we have met at least once a month to look at ways to raise community awareness of our projects, and plan activities to raise funds.

“This has added up to in excess of 2,000 volunteering hours – phenomenal – thank you again to the team.”

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The aim was to provide a wide range of equipment to meet the needs of all children in the Southdown area, including those with a disability.

More than £52,000 was raised over 10 months – via a treasure hunt, potato printing at the food and drink festival, marathon running, and donations and grants from major benefactors, including Luton Airport, Jarvis Homes and Herts county council.

Cllr Heritage said: “It is amazing what can be achieved when the community works together.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Herts, Lady Verulam, joined the ceremony, where she unveiled the sponsorship board and cut the ribbon to the park, followed by children and grandchildren of members of the charity group cutting ribbons on pieces of equipment.