New play park opens in memory of five-month-old Sophie

Dozens of families attended the opening on Saturday
Dozens of families attended the opening on Saturday

Families gathered at Bulverhythe recreation ground on Saturday (February 25) for the grand opening of Sophie’s Play Space Combe Valley.

The idea for the play park was conceived by the Bexleigh, Hythe, Abbey Residents Association (BHARA). BHARA formed in 2013 to address issues affecting the local community with an aim to make improvements to the neighbourhood.

Dozens of families attended the opening on Saturday

Dozens of families attended the opening on Saturday

BHARA teamed up with Hastings Borough Council’s Play Hastings and Parks teams, who secured funding from many organisations including the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund, Tesco Bags of Help, Hastings Borough Council, The Foreshore Trust, Hastings Borough Council’s Small Grant Funding, Jag Community Safety Funding, The Lions Club, Police Property Act Fund, Hastings Round Table and Hastings Direct.

“Better play provision in this area was identified at Neighbourhood Watch meetings in 2012 and since then the local community and partners led by BHARA have made it happen,” said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for play. It’s really great news that this play space is now open and ready for all to use. Our thanks must go to all partners, council staff and our contractors Eibe play and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling Project.

“We encourage everyone in the area to go along and make use of all the fantastic play equipment.”

Secretary of BHARA Delia Spears added: “We are so grateful to our community and all the funders that have made this dream a reality.

“Well done to all the play project team for their hard work and persistence.

“This play space has taken four years to achieve and is the first of our many community projects.”

The park is called Sophie’s Play Space in memory of the daughter of Mrs Spears, and her husband Tom, who sadly passed away when she was only five months old.

The new play park comprises toddler swings and a basket swing, and a large play mound with a slide, tunnel and climbing structures. It also has a sand pit and a bench in the shape of a fishing boat.

Executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, added: “Play parks like this make a vital contribution to the lives of children and young people, and communities as a whole. They offer a place where they can meet up, make new friends, have fun, and exercise outdoors, all for free. Everyone involved should be very proud of what they have achieved and I hope the play park is used and enjoyed for many years to come.”

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