Doncaster mums' big plans for children's playground

The Barnby Dun Park Rangers fundraising group
The Barnby Dun Park Rangers fundraising group

The children's play area in Barnby Dun has had a tough time recently.

It is currently closed after vandals caused damage to the safe surface that was in place for children who use the facility behind the village's parish hall on Top Road.

The Barnby Dun play area that could be revamped

The Barnby Dun play area that could be revamped

But a group of eight mums is determined to make sure that there is a bright future for youngsters and any one else who wants to use the park facilities in the village.

They have set up a group called Park Rangers - and they have the grand ambition of transforming the facilities into something the village can be proud of and that their children will love.

The group got together because they wanted something better for their children, and have set themselves the target of raising £200,000 to pay for something to improve the area.

Claire Swaby, a mum of three, said she joined the group because she wanted to make sure her children had the best playing facilities they could have.

She said: "The committee had already been set up when I joined - a group of mums who all wanted to be able to do the park up for all our children.

"They playground had always been in use - when the group was set up it had not been vandlised in the way it has been lately.

"The idea was to make it better for all age groups so that were were things for all.

"I've got two eight-year-old twins and a five year old, who always used to play there. It was all right, but we felt it could be better.

"The children are all for it. Mine want somewhere to play football, as they're football mad.

"We held fundraising events and the people who have come to them have said what a good idea this is."

Fellow Park Ranger Debbie Watson, a former headteacher, grew up in Barnby Dun but later moved to Edenthorpe. Her mum and dad still lived there and her children have been regular users of the park.

She wants to see it brought into the modern world, and feels it is a bit out of date.

She is involved with trying to get grants to pay for some of the costs they will face, although they have already raised £14,000 through events they have run.

She said: "We are trying to raise a lot of money. We want to meet the needs of all the people in the community, for dog walkers children, and all the groups of people. We want to make it a hub for the village..

"We've been fund raised for quite some time.

"We're hoping to get an infant playground, a junior play area, and a MUGA (multi-sports games area) sports pitch for the older ones. For the older ones, we're also looking at a zip wire and climbing frame."

She believes one of the issues at the moment is that there is nothing there for the older ones, and helping provide something will encourage them to look after the park.

But it is not just play equipment for the children that they are hoping to bring in to improve the site. They are also looking at bringing in benches and tables for families to use. They are hoping businesses may support them in this, and say they would recognise that with signs.

There are also plans to remove some of the brambles that are currently growing on the slope that leads down to the playground, and potentially use that slope for a big slide leading down into the park.

The plans have been drawn up after running consultation sessions with members of the local community.

Barnby Dun with Kirk Sandall Parish Council chairman John Berriman is delighted to see what the mums are doing, and says the authority will put some money into the project too.

He is pleased that their work could mean there is something in the village for the 12 to 16 year olds.

He said: "What they're planning would be great - it would get children off the road. It would be great if the children from the older age group were using it too.

"It is has been closed for about a month."

* The Park Rangers are set to turn to fashion for their next big fundraiser.

In November, they will be hosting a fashion show at the Glass House pub in Kirk Sandall.

A professional firm will be running the clothes show itself, supplying the clothes and the models - but the cash from ticket sales and a raffle will go towards the Park Rangers appeal.

Fundraiser Claire Swaby said the group was now starting to collect prizes for the raffle – and they are appealing for any donations from companies or individuals who are keen to support their efforts.

Claire said: “We are starting to collect now and we’d be very grateful for any prizes that anyone can donate.”

It is not the first time the group has run a fashion show, and they have found the format helpful in the past.

Other events they have runs to raise money have included charity nights at Barnby Dun Parish Hall.

They have also raise money by running face painting and bouncy castles at village fetes in the borough.