Taskforce of volunteers sought to revamp the rec and rebuilt old fort

Ray Collins

Ray Collins

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A £150,000 fundraising campaign has been launched for new play equipment at Wantage Recreation Ground.

A wooden fort, zipwire, adult and children’s play equipment and a picnic area are all on the wishlist of a campaign to “revamp the rec” on Manor Road.

Wantage Town Council has officially backed the project for Wantage Recreation Ground along with owner, Vale of White Horse District Council.

Now fundraisers have called on the whole town to do whatever it can to help reach the target.

Spokesman Oliver Rosevear said: “We are finally making progress with the project.

“Here is a chance to make Wantage Rec the very best it can be, to give our children the most amazing facilities and the most amazing memories. We can’t do this alone.”

He said the group has seen one “fantastic proposal” from a play equipment firm but would be seeking more quotes.

He added: “Our top priority is fundraising.

“We need people to start raising funds as soon as possible.”

Volunteers are also being sought to apply for grants on behalf of the group and companies are wanted to invest in the area in exchange for sponsorship on equipment.

The project includes rebuilding the wooden fort first constructed in the 1970s but burned down in the 1990s in a suspected arson attack.

Members of Wantage Recreation Ground Planning Committee, including town councillors and mayor Fiona Roper, are discussing plans with the Vale.

Campaigners hope to start work before May, but said they need public help.

Details of a bank account where people can donate cash will be advertised soon.

Hundreds responded to an online survey saying what they wanted in the park.

Wantage Carnival campaigner Ray Collins has already donated £10,000 from this year’s event and will also donate proceeds from next year’s.

Mr Collins, 44, who manages Peter Ledbury electricals on Grove Street, said: “It all stemmed from when I saw a picture of the old fort recently.

“Once I started researching what had happened to it, it snowballed.

“There’s nothing up there for older kids at the moment, there are bits for toddlers like the swings, but we want to try and get something for everyone.”

The committee will also be applying for grants from public bodies and funding organisations.

To join the campaign or make a suggestion, email wantage recrevamp@gmail.com

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