New garden opens for children of Westfield Playgroup

Children enjoy the new facility
Children enjoy the new facility

A VISION of transforming disused land into an area for preschool children to enjoy has finally been realised, following a year-long fundraising drive by a village playgroup.

Determined staff, parents and friends of Westfield Playgroup have been working tirelessly to transform the overgrown area at the side of the Parish Hall into a growing and wildlife garden for the children.

Just over a year ago, Sarah Warner of Willow Wood Traditional Gardeners, suggested over-hauling the area and offered to design and create the new space with partner Jason.

One woman’s idea kicked off a major fundraising drive to enable the village playgroup to get to work on the land.

But the ambitions of Westfield Playgroup did not stop there.

Sarah Burnage, chair of Westfield Playgroup Committee, explained: “A couple of months later, one of the members of staff said to me why don’t we use another area of wasteland at the side of the hall for the children to use their trikes on?”

And so phase two of the playgroup’s grand plan was set in motion.

With the whole scheme costing in the region of £20,000, the playgroup appealed to a number of charities for grants and local business for goods and equipment to help them reach their goal.

Around half the cost, £10,000, came in the form of a grant from the National Lottery Awards For All.

Other sources of funding included Westfield Parish Council, the Mrs A Lacy Tate Trust, Westfield Community Association, Hastings Round Table, Rye and District Lions Club and Hastings Lions Club.

And finally, after much blood, sweat and tears, the new outdoor areas were officially opened last month by Hastings Mayor Kim Forward.

Mrs Burnage said: “After what seemed like, at times, a long road when trying to raise the funds and overcoming issues with contractors, our gardens were finally completed and we had the official opening of our gardens, which was attended by the Mayor of Hastings.”

Parents and supporters turned out to the open day on July 23 to view the new areas and by selling teas, cakes and tattoos, the playgroup raised another £155 towards the upkeep of the gardens.

One of the new areas includes a track for the children to ride their trikes on.

It includes road signs with the aim of helping the children learn about road safety.

The other area will help children learn about wildlife and growing fruit and vegetables.

The area had also been resurfaced with articfical grass, returfed and now boasts a new garden shelter.

Mrs Burnage said: “This project shows that with a positive mindset and the support of a good team, even in this current climate, anything can be achieved to make a difference to your community.”

* Spaces are currently available at Westfield Playgroup. Details from Julie Guest on 07790 744404 or e-mail

For more details about Westfield Playgroup, visit