Photography courtesy of Mark Simmons Photography
Families living in St Paul’s, Bristol were distraught when their popular adventure playground was engulfed in flames in April.
The attack on the St Paul’s Adventure Playground threatened the very future of a site that is close to the hearts of residents who regard it as a safe haven for children from all walks of life.
But, in a powerful testimony to the tight-knit community’s resilience, a crowdfunding appeal set up by 16-year-old volunteer Stan Jones raised hopes that the playground could be restored to its former glory.
The campaign even received a helping hand from Massive Attack star Grantley Evan Marshall, known as Daddy G, and Mark Millar, of hit BBC show DIY SOS.
And now, the fundraising campaign has smashed its £35,000-target following a £6,800 donation from our Coronavirus Community Fund.
Huge public support
Our donation followed an astonishing groundswell in public support from Bristolians as more than 1,000 residents made contributions.
The Bristol-based John James Foundation has also donated £5,000 while former city mayor George Ferguson has contributed £1,000 to revive a playground that has served St Paul’s since the 1980s.
There has even been support from as far afield as Yorkshire and from one person who donated ahead of a move to Bristol later this year in what was described as a forward investment for the city.
A better and more robust playground
And, thanks to their generosity, the team which looks after the St Paul’s Adventure Playground is now looking forward to making sure the site, located near the M32, next to St Agnes Church, is better and more robust than ever.
Speaking about the importance of the playground, A.P.E. Project Community Interest Company director Guy Dobson said:
“The playground is invaluable because it’s where young people come together to mingle, exercise and have fun – all vital for physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
“But despite the doom and gloom of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been an incredible outpouring of support that has not only been completely overwhelming but really inspirational as well.
“We’re truly grateful for the way people and organisations have really stepped up – like Somali families living in one-bedroom homes with next-to-nothing who’ve dug deep to put tenners in.”
Working together to support communities
The A.P.E. Project CIC is among the community groups that are benefitting from our £100,000 Coronavirus Community Fund which we set up in May with Solon South West Housing Association to help Bristol’s community groups respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Our Chair at United Communities, James Taylor said:
“The response to the potentially ruinous fire at the St Paul’s Adventure Playground epitomises the community spirit that makes Bristol such a special place.
“People from all walks of life are uniting to invigorate a vital part of the fabric of everyday life in St Paul’s and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite, we’re glad to support them in the playground project’s hour of need.”
Solon South West Chair Graham Oliver said:
“The campaign to revive the St Pauls Adventure Playground has been extraordinary and it fully deserves extraordinary support from the Coronavirus Community Fund.
“This fund shows our commitment to work together to support communities during these unprecedented and challenging times. I would encourage people to follow Guy’s example and find out more about the fund so community groups can access vital support.”
Community groups are encouraged to submit bids for funds and can find out more by visiting: www.supportingourcommunities.org