CHILDREN on one of Witney’s biggest estates will benefit from long-overdue play areas after the community raised £157,000.

Facilities including a skate ramp, zip-wire and multi-use games area are set to be installed in Madley Park by the end of the year, following a two-year fundraising appeal.

It vindicates the ambitious Activate:Madley Park project, which was created after residents identified a lack of youth services on the estate.

The initiative saw many of Madley Park's 3,500 inhabitants come together to host a variety of fundraising events, while young people were able to design their dream play area.

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Kat Quigley, of the Madley Park Residents' Association (MPRA), said: “This is such a fantastic achievement, it’s brought the community closer together and we’ve been able to show the children that live here that they are an important part of our community who have a voice.

“We really hope this will just be the start of the younger generations here on Madley getting involved in lots of the community activity we have planned.”

She added: "It just shows why Witney is such a great place to live."

Madley Park has a significantly-higher proportion of younger people than the national average, but the estate's play equipment has not been updated since the development was built in the early 2000s.

Residents were concerned by the lack of equipment aimed at children of secondary school age or for those with additional needs.

Following a consultation process involving residents, schools, police, councils and the Oxfordshire Playing Fields Association, a design was creating featuring children's ideas.

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The new facilities, next to Madley Brook Primary School, include a younger children’s area for people of all abilities, featuring a wheelchair accessible trampoline.

Meanwhile, a skate ramp will have floodlighting so that it can be used all year round, to provide maximum use for the community.

Activate:MadleyPark organised several events including a pop-up pub night, community garage sales and a family fun day.

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Meanwhile, one group of parents even took part in a gruelling sponsored muddy obstacle course.

David Bates, chair of MPRA, said: “It’s excellent news for our children and young people on Madley.

“They’ve been involved in the design of their new play areas and they’ve worked hard alongside the residents' association and a huge number of our local community to support the fundraising and planning to make this happen.”

The £157,000 includes donations from businesses and charities including Cottsway Housing Association, the Doris Field Trust and charity Bartlett Taylor.

Grants from Witney Town Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council also contributed to the total.

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The district council contributed £30,000 through a community facilities grant and also ensured another £30,328 was made available through Section 106 funds from local developments.

Michele Mead, the council's cabinet member for health and leisure, said: “This is a true success story showing what can be achieved when a community works together and I’m delighted we have been able to support Madley Park Residents’ Association in their venture.

“I’d like to pay particular tribute to them and also my predecessor, Jeanette Baker, who retired in May but worked tirelessly to ensure this project came to fruition.

“The new facilities will be an excellent addition to Madley Park and provide something which residents told us they felt was lacking from their area.”

MPRA is continuing to work with other organisations to enhance youth services on the estate.

It hopes to set up a youth club that will use the new facilities in the 'not too distant future', according to Mrs Quigley.