The new and improved playground at Freeman’s Meadow is now complete following a £70,000 upgrade funded by Henley Town Council. The upgrade is part of a Town Council initiative to improve the facilities in the town’s parks. It follows the upgrade of the toddler playground at Mill Meadows, the construction of the skatepark, updating of the playground and installation of outdoor gym equipment at Makins Recreation Ground.
The upgrade at Freeman’s has taken 6/7 weeks to complete and the work was undertaken by contractors Wicksteed. The upgraded playground has a nature theme to complement the natural surroundings of the meadow. New equipment for toddlers and younger children has been provided to widen the age range, and inclusive equipment like the new roundabout accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children, will allow all children to play together.
A pair of Talking Flower tubes were kindly sponsored by Soha Housing and Henley in Bloom aimed at encouraging social interaction between children and are great fun for youngsters of all ages and abilities. Jackie Logan from Soha said, “Soha are committed to investing in communities. We are really pleased to have been able to contribute to the play equipment in the park and to continue working with Henley Town Council in the future.”
Henley Mayor, Councillor Ken Arlett said, “Freeman’s is the completion of a three year plan to refurbish all the Town Council’s playgrounds. The Town Council have shown its support for the Friends of Freeman’s, and we value their commitment to the area. This now gives the children around the area, first class playground equipment and a suitable soft landing surface. Hopefully the equipment will be well looked after in the future.”
New seating and fencing around the playground provides a dog-free area, where families can sit and watch the play or enjoy the environment. A new swing set, installed adjacent to the playground earlier this year, completes the upgrade.
Helen Gaynor from Freeman’s Friends residents group who made proposals for the upgrade said, “We are all absolutely thrilled to see this achieved and finished after nearly 3 years. The dilapidated playground has now gone and the whole character of the place looks beautiful now and cared for. Really what has come out of this has come a great community spirit. We now have a great network of people who represent all four sides of the meadows. We have volunteers who will be helping to keep the meadows tidy and developing it further with wildlife projects working with the Council. It’s lovely to see the small children (toddlers) playing on it as this was the main feedback from the research that there wasn’t enough for them.”
The official launch event will be held on Thursday 16th April 2020 in partnership with Nomad. More details to follow nearer the date.