The Charltons: Charlton Mackrell, Charlton Adam and West Charlton in Somerset
Promoting Health And Well-being In An Environmentally Friendly Way
We’re a group of residents who are raising funds to improve the environment here in The Charltons.
After significant support from the village we plan to create a new, inclusive outdoor activity area for all members of our community.
Our vision is to provide an exciting space for the under 5’s to explore, learn and make friends. A space designed for the under 12’s where they can swing, climb and slide. A safe and comfortable area for our teenagers, equipped for exercise and socialising. Outdoor fitness equipment for adults, encouraging a healthier lifestyle and a tranquil and interactive sensory garden.
The estimated cost is £150,000 and fundraising has started, we have approached funds such as Viridor and The Big Lottery but are also enjoying the range of village led fundraising events taking place.
Charltons community plan 2017
Guideline CL3 – The Community Hall and memorial playing field.
To ensure that the Community Hall, Playing Field and the Children’s Play Area are maintained and supported so that a wide range of activities can take place on them, and to develop the Children’s Play Area to take account of the changing needs of young users.Guideline BasisThe Playing Field was used by 58% of respondents to the Parish Questionnaire, while 46% used the Community Hall and 29% used the Play Area. This shows that all these facilities are used by a high proportion of residents and need to be maintained to ensure continued safe use. The equipment in the Play Area should be updated to meet the needs of today’s children. There is some support in the village for an adult Trim Trail which, if installed on the Playing Field, could increase the field’s usage as well as benefiting the wellbeing of parishioners.Guideline ActionTo ensure that the Community Hall, Playing Field and Play Area are maintainedand improved, and to explore the supply of new play equipment and an adult trim trail. Funding for any new schemes should be sought from individuals, the national lottery, District Council and any future housing developments within the Parish.
Letters of support
Hi Project Charltons Team
Following on from last week’s Area East Committee meeting, I just wanted to say how pleased we all were that funds were allocated to you. Looking forward, I feel it’s important to stress the three key issues which were of particular interest to the Council, as they align very closely with our key strategic priorities in helping to create and sustain robust, and healthier, communities;
1) The re-siting of the play equipment towards the community centre has clear safeguarding benefits, and is also of clear added benefit to the those individuals with additional health needs who may require easy access to the facilities within the hall. It would also now meet formal requirements for use by designated schools and childcare providers, in lieu of mandatory risk assessments. The local primary must be pleased!
2) It will be great when the paths are finished as not only will this be safer and more visually appealing for everyone, but it would enable those with mobility problems who rely of chairs/scooters to take full advantage of all the grounds have to offer. There are many such people within our villages, and their numbers are set to increase significantly over the coming years.
3) Linked to above, I think the future stages of the development will do a lot to help enhance a healthy, ‘community vibe’ in the villages. As with many predominantly rural settlements, there is a pressing need to do all we can to tackle isolation and loneliness, bringing folk of all ages together; the committee identified the project as an ideal way for all of us to work closely in helping address this.
Best of luck going forwards with this, and many thanks for all your help and hard work thus far, in these challenging times.
Cllr Charlie Hull
Ward Member – Northstone, Ivelchester and St Michaels
South Somerset District Council
I am writing to go on record that your project to transform the provision of equipped play, youth facilities and outdoor fitness equipment at the Memorial Playing Fields has my full support.
This project will contribute towards many of the aims of objectives of South Somerset District Council and principally our vision to make South Somerset a place where our communities are safe, vibrant and healthy and have access to exceptional cultural and leisure activities.
Having worked with your group for well over a year, I have been impressed with the time, energy and commitment of the volunteers towards this project and I have no doubts you will continue to work to achieve the group’s objectives.
I will continue to support the group with the knowledge, skills and information at my disposal and wish you every success in your fund raising efforts for this worthy project.
Robert Parr MBA, NDH, MCIMSPA
Project Charltons has set themselves the challenge to raise funds to help our whole community, from the very young to the elderly. We currently have nothing like this, so it will deliver a fantastic play area at the heart of our two villages where families can meet, have fun and keep fit.
Chairperson, the Charlton Memorial Hall Committee.
I just wanted to write to all on the playground committee to congratulate you on the wonderful, practical layout of the new design.
When my child was a lot younger and I helped out in the village hall at jumble sales or whatever the event, he would want to run off and go and play in the park whilst I was busy. I was always uneasy about this because of the distance between the hall and the park, so to place the new younger children’s park closer to the hall makes absolute sense.
Now that my child is older I see it as vital that teenagers have somewhere they can go and feel is theirs. Generally this age group aren’t very welcome anywhere, but they too need a common place to hang out, socialise and feel secure.
I also feel it’s especially important in small villages and rural communities to give children of all ages a safe and fun place that they can utilise. Without access to public transport or any accessible entertainment such as cinemas, bowling etc growing up in these locations can be really isolating for this age group. They need their own space perhaps even more crucially at this time.
This new design, in my opinion, caters for the whole villages needs. Separate play areas for younger and older children, open space in the middle with goals which can be used for team sports and enough open ground left for dog walkers. Perhaps even a sensory garden too one day for people to get involved in, helping building a closer community that can include everyone.
Congratulations to all involved for all your hard work and such a fabulous design.
Many thanks, Sarah George
Statement from Charlton’s Youth Club Village Coordinator:
” Currently, the young people in our village (age 10-17) have nowhere to congregate and socialise outside of the weekly Youth club session. Having an area of the field where there are basketball hoops, benches and an area to relax/ socialise would provide these young people with a safe area to meet and play sports, helping to remove some of the issues of social & rural isolation. By having a designated space to socialise and play sports would encourage our young people to meet up with other teenagers outside the home and get some exercise and space away from pressures of family and school. We have over 20 members of our village youth club who regularly attend and we believe that all of these young people would benefit significantly from having equipment for them on the community field.”
Statement from village resident, Peter aged 12 yrs:
” Since the playground in the village park was closed, the children and teenagers in the village have no where to hang out. It would be good to have a new play area to be able to meet up with our other friends from the village and play ball sports. The only time we get to meet up at the moment is at youth club but this is only one evening a week during term time. It would be good to have somewhere to go at weekends and during school holidays. “
Good luck with the application
Take care Kate O’Boyle
Ever since we moved into the Charltons years ago, with very young children, we have made regular use of the village playing field and the old playpark, where we have really appreciated the opportunity they provide to play outdoors and meet other families. Project Charltons has developed an exciting and ambitious plan to transform this space into something new that can be enjoyed by everyone in the community, of all ages, supporting the physical and mental well being of all who live in our villages. With overwhelming support throughout the community, this vision now needs the funding to make it a reality, so that we can replace the old worn out equipment with a facility to benefit everyone long into the future.
Richard and Melissa Grafton
This working party group of five residents first approached the Parish Council in January 2019 to request permission to start fundraising for refreshed outdoor facilities in the Community Park that would meet the needs of every resident.
The creation of this group came after the children’s play area was closed throughout the summer period of 2018 because of safety concerns.
We are blessed with a considerably large field but lack any suitable facilities to encourage residents other than dog walkers to use this space and with the children’s play park being closed it reflected a rather dismal environment.
Project Charltons have exciting plans to provide an area that will inspire and attract all residents and those living in surrounding villages. Their mission is to be fully inclusive. In addition to equipment that will meet the physical and creative needs of all children the plan is to include facilities where adults can improve their fitness, a zone where teenagers can socialise together and a quiet sensory area that will support those with Special needs/disabilities and where one can reflect and relax quietly.
For the villages of Charlton Mackrell and Charlton Adam I believe this is a very worthwhile and important project that I and the Parish Council wholeheartedly support. It has the capacity to excite and encourage the health and well being of all its residents who are otherwise restricted by rural isolation.
(on behalf of The Charltons Parish Council)
I am sending this email of our support of the much needed re-development of the Charltons recreation Ground (Project Charlton).
The current outdated play facilities for the children are in my opinion very worn and unsafe to use. A communal space for teenagers , equipped for exercising and to socialise would give them a much needed area to meet friends.
Outdoor Fitness equipment for all to use to encourage and support a healthy lifestyle would be great and really make a difference, we would personally use this on a regular basis.
Gill & Vic Eppy
We moved to the village when I was pregnant with our first child and my children now aged 4 and 3 use the park frequently but it rarely holds their interest for long with so many pieces out of use or not suitable for their age. They love visiting parks and playgrounds and would be thrilled to have a new playground to play in.
It would be great to be able to invite friends into our lovely community to come and play at the park and would be a great place for the children to meet after school. It is so important for children’s physical and mental health to play outdoors, to safely explore their physical capabilities in a setting that is adventurous, safe and exciting.
I am really pleased that this could be a possibility and make our village an even more attractive and fun place to live.
Jennie, Jude, Lizzie and George Eastick
‘I love zip wires and it would be amazing if grandma and grandpa had one near their house.’ Amber Henderson aged 7
Senior Social Worker
Locality Team | DACHS
I am writing in support of this project, and dearly wish for it to secure funding so that it can come to fruition. As the South Somerset District Councillor from the village elected last year, when campaigning I regularly came across many expressing an urgent need for the resources and facilities that Project Charltons seek to establish. There are many vulnerable people in our community (whether due to age, disability or access issues) for whom a strictly local centre for exercise and recreation is essential for them to maintain a decent level of health and well-being.
As part of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee, I/we are actively looking at ways to combat isolation, promote health and well-being, and be kinder to the environment. Project Charltons ‘ticks all boxes’ in this respect and is, therefore, vital for us as a District in helping to foster healthy and sustainable local communities. The Charltons are a growing cluster of settlements, and there is a pressing need for us to most effectively utilise our common spaces; this project is an ideal way for us to achieve this, whilst meeting the pressing health and exercise needs for all members of the community.
The Covid-19 has provided a real stress-test for my ward, and as we look towards the future and a life freed from lock-down, we all recognise the need to celebrate and enhance the local, looking out more closely for our neighbours whilst reducing our carbon footprint. I am sure that Project Charltons, once realised, will result in a happier, healthier community, more resilient and able to withstand whatever the future has in store.
I would recommend funding wholeheartedly.
Cllr Charlie Hull
We have lived in the vicinity of the Charltons for a number of years and our two young children attend the primary school in Charlton Mackrell. The space at the village field is a really valuable area for the local population, to be able to walk, play, meet friends and family and enjoy being outdoors in the fresh air! We regularly visit and we have often commented that the equipment is looking a little tired and could benefit from an overhaul. Project Charltons is an exciting idea that has been generated by a very determind group of locals, working hard to improve the area for the benefit of all. Having been involved in the development of the playground at Kingsdon a few years ago, it is very clear the positive impact some new ideas and new equipment can have on those who live in the village and surrounding areas. The Charltons Project now needs funding support to turn the vision into a reality and to benefit the metal and physical well-being of all who come to visit in the future.
Mike and Lydia Brown
I am writing to you to show my support of the remaking of the play park.
I am 16 years old and have live in the village all my life, when me and my sister were younger we both loved playing on all the equipment. However we were both very upset whenever one of them had to be condemned. I know that children would be extremely grateful to have new play equipment to enjoy.
As a teenager me and my sister are both looking forward getting a place to socialise with our friends. I am also excited at the prospect of getting a place to exercise in the future.
Charlton Mackrell Primary School is delighted with the proposed developments for the new village recreation area. All of our young people need an area for them and their families to enjoy. The proposed development encompasses the physical and mental needs of our children. It offers an area where they can develop and learn both in their leisure time and for use by children in lesson times. The design is well thought out and will bring the whole community together. Our children have been pleased to be part of the design process and would now like to see it actually happen!
For such an ambitious plan to materialise will take generous donations, grants and fundraising, which we hope you might help with.
After talking to other Charltons residents and hearing of some opposition to provide facilities for our younger residents i thought I’d drop you a line .
I as a parent of three young children i wholeheartedly support the proposals to revamp our recreational ground and provide the younger residents with somewhere where they can safely play and entertain themselves.
Too often today we criticize and blame the young for causing a nuisance, being lazy and lacking the get up and go , yet we fail to provide the facilities and tools to encourage them to embrace the outdoor lifestyle and all the health and mental benefits this provides.
Also with an aged community within the Charltons we should be providing facilities that will encourage younger families to move into our community.
With new developments taking place its almost guaranteed that more younger residents will arrive and we have a responsibility to ensure enough activities and areas are available for them to use to prevent just roaming of the streets.
Our current recreational facilities are at best tired and would benefit from a much needed refurbishment.
I am writing to put on record my wholehearted support in favour of the amazing plans for the much needed overhaul of the Memorial playing field and park.
I am a mum of two young children (both attending the village school) and live in Charlton Mackrell. I regularly use the playing field to take part in fitness sessions and recognise how lucky we are to have this asset in our village. But I also see how woefully under-used it is (mostly only dog walkers) and feel that so much more could be made of the space, for the benefit of all villagers. This is why I am so excited about the proposals put forwards by the Project Charltons team and hope very much that we can collectively achieve the funding required to make these plans a reality.
Currently I, along with many others, take my children to the parks in Kingsdon and Somerton where there is a better variety of more exciting and challenging equipment to play on. This is not ideal. I would much prefer to stay very local, reducing the amount of car journeys we make and, in these challenging Covid-19 times, reducing the amount of mixing outside of our neighbourhood. The proposals for the children’s play area element of the project are particularly exciting! This will get a LOT of use. I can’t stress enough how amazing it will be to have all of this play equipment in our village!
I also welcome the addition of the adult fitness equipment (I will definitely use this) at a time when looking after our physical health has never been more important, and a dedicated area for our young people. It’s so important that they have a space that is their own – what a positive impact on their social and mental welfare. I understand there are also plans for a sensory area, which sounds like it could be a delightful place, and still plenty of open green field for ball sports, Village Days and dog walkers! Truly something for everybody!
A lot of thought has gone into the plans to make an exciting and inclusive recreational space for all and I very much hope they get the backing they thoroughly deserve.
Thank you very much for your email detailing the intentions to fundraise in order to renovate the Charlton Adam community play area. As Chair of Governors for Charlton Mackrell Primary School and Pre-School, and also a local parent, I am excited to hear of this proposal and it certainly has my full support (and that of all I have spoken to about it). The plan caters for a wider age groups of local children than the current tired play area does, as well as introducing much needed outdoor exercise opportunities for all ages. If I can provide further support in any way please do let me know.
AJ Thompson Chair of Governors
Village News and consultation
Phase One Plan
we are delighted to say phase one also includes picnic benches and we will install the mound for the slide, in the footprint shown above, once complete this mound will have a scramble net and pull up rope.
The mound will need time to settle so the slide will be installed as part of phase two, see below.
Phase two (funding dependent) will consist of the slide, net and rope, described above, a gravity rider, a wheelchair friendly roundabout and a double zip wire. As well as the natural ‘fencing’ of grass mounds, beech hedging and standing Ham stones.
Further phases: A teenage area with goal, Basket ball hoop, ground level parallel bars and seating.
4 pieces of adult fitness equipment
A sensory seating area.
Fundraising has started for phase two, if you would like to make a donation or help then please do get in touch. Contact details are at the bottom of this page.
January Project Group set up
January – March Consultations with Rob Parr from South Somerset to scope the project
May The Charltons Parish Council agreed to the working party (now known as Project Charlton) undertaking the planning and fundraising activities on its behalf.
June Consultation document circulated across the village and primary school
July Feedback on consultation at Village Day
August – December Working with play equipment providers to obtain potential plans and estimates. Developing fundraising ideas.
October Parish Council agree to a grant of £10,000 over three financial years
November Appeal for support from village organisations
December Planning for three major fundraising events – Love Poetry event at the Abbey on 14th February VE Day at the Court and theatrical performances at Charlton House
January Ongoing funding applications. Stage 1 application to Viridor successful. Application to South Somerset District Council and Clarks. Appointment of Project Manager
February Appeal for financial support from villagers
Love Poetry event at the Abbey fully booked and very successful
Application to Wessex Water
March Lockdown, VE Day event cancelled. Application to South Somerset successful £995 towards project management costs
Researching equipment in preparation for 2nd stage Viridor application
April Applications to Calor Rural community fund, Tesco’s Bags for Life, Awards for All
Wessex Water bid successful. Granted £1500 for water bottle filler and a contribution to sensory garden
May Theatre performances cancelled as a result of COVID. Calor application successful
June Crowdfunding Swing into Action material developed. Viridor application being prepared
July Viridor application submitted
August Crowdfunding appeal raised £1878.
September Path on the east entry to the Memorial Playing Field widened and resurfaced
October Discussions with the Parish Council and The Trustees of the Memorial Hall and Field Trust about the governance of the Project
November Application to Viridor successful – £30.000 granted. Planning with project manager and locality officer from South Somerset on the development of the playground. Application to South Somerset District Council Community Fund. Governance passed to Trustees of the Memorial Hall and Playing Field (23rd November 2020) who met 10% third party contribution to Viridor.
December Application to South Somerset successful. Final planning. Appointment of contractor. 8th December Trust decided to proceed with phase one install in spring 2021.
Above: LevelerLive – Somerset’s largest circulation newspaper
Questions and concerns
Project Charlton and the Memorial hall trust committee have worked closely throughout this process and to answer the points made by residents.
1. I saw there was a sandpit proposed, I would not like to see that.
A few residents have also expressed their concern, the group have decided at this time to not include a sandpit.
2. Would like to see the younger children’s play area fenced in order to keep dogs out and children in. AM
The Community hall trust states dogs must be kept under control and owners are responsible for clearing up after their dogs.
3. One of the big problems with putting play equipment like this is the on-going maintenance costs. AB
Ongoing maintenance is important, but it does not have to cost thousands of pounds a year. Any equipment no matter where its located will need maintenance, and this is a reasonable expectation of any service provider. High quality equipment has been selected that should enjoy a long service life. RP
4. I would prefer to see the existing play area expanded to accommodate the new play equipment rather than placing it as proposed near the pavilion. AB
The existing play area is located in the isolated and remote SE corner of the playing fields approximately 160meters from the hall and car parking. There is a pedestrian access point in the SE corner, although I would not consider this in a condition that is accessible for all people.
The current isolated location has a number of drawbacks including
- A reduced sense of safety for users due to its isolation.
- Poor access
- Close to a road
- Lack of implied supervision
- A long way from the community hall
- Not accessible to all due to access points and distance from the car park.
Relocating to the west gives the following benefits
- Open location providing an inviting play area that feels safe
- Good, implied supervision from adults and hall
- Good access
- Away from the road and safely distanced from the car park
- Approximately 25m from the hall which greatly improves access for all
- Closer to the community hall therefore could be jointly used for playgroups and children’s parties etc.
- Does not conflict with any other use of the site.
5. Other concern is on health grounds as there is continuing nuisance from dog fowling on the playing field. ST
The risk of Toxocariasis: it is a rare infection, most people infected have no symptoms and the parasite die within a few months, only rare cases cause serious symptoms, most people make a full recovery.
It is worth also highlighting that if this infection is seen as a serious risk then that would restrict the use of the entire playing field by children. RP
6. The green ambience of the field would be interrupted. NS
Aesthetics of the playing field is a matter of personal opinion; however, the play equipment has not been positioned in a piece meal fashion which suggests an unplanned approach. The play equipment has been positioned taking into account how children might use and move around the site and taking into account the various opportunities and constraints bespoke to the playing fields.
7. Need to allow dog walkers and runners, who naturally tend to use the perimeter, an uninterrupted path NS
The design allows for an uninterrupted path around the perimeter of the playing field and so dog walkers and runners could continue to enjoy the site.
8. The surrounding villages have fields and play equipment of their own. We should be raising and spending money for our own community as indeed the surrounding villages do. KF
We agree. This project is a direct response to the village plan, created in 2017. Our group aim and objectives are spelt out perfectly here:
Play England – design for play publication provides a good description of what we aim to achieve:
“children should be able to lay freely in their local areas. Children have the same right to use and enjoy public spaces as others. Local streets, estates, green spaces, parks and town centres should be accessible for children and young people to move around in safety and offer places where they can play freely, experience nature, explore their environment and be with their friends. Play England 2007.
9. Has consideration been given to the liability and insurance aspects? AG
The trust committee have the insurance required and there is no expected rise in the cost of grass cutting. The equipment purchased is of a high quality to give longevity and meets national standards.
We would like to thank the following for their contributions to our fundraising efforts:
The Charltons Parish Council for their grant of £10,000 over the next 3 financial years
The Charltons Tennis Club for their donation of £3840
The Charltons Pluckers for their Concerts
Charltons Churches for running a village cafe in 2020
CHADS for their donation
Charltons Pluckers for their donation
Lord and Lady Zouche, for hosting our Valentines Poetry event at their beautiful home.
Geordie and Kathryn Greig and Richard and Melissa Grafton for offering to host events which unfortunately had to be cancelled as a result of COVID restrictions
Donations can be given to any of the project group
Cheques should be made payable to The Charltons Community Trust or BACS payments can be made to The Charltons Community Trust.
Get in Touch
If you would like to help with fundraising we would love to hear from you
Nina Gronw-Lewis: email@example.com
Dee Powell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Richards: email@example.com
Jody Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea de Berker: email@example.com
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