A Crowdfunder campaign is being launched in Broadwindsor at noon today, Tuesday 23rd August to raise the £20,000 needed to transform the village green at Bernards’ Place.
The project will provide community open space, challenging and inclusive play equipment and physical exercise for all, right in the heart of the village.
‘The plan has almost three years in the making but we’re determined to make it happen,’ said Sheila Hawkins, who worked with the late David Leader to put the project together for the Comrades Hall, which owns the land.
‘It will be a fitting tribute to David, who died suddenly earlier this year. He made such a difference to community and sporting life in the village and brought everyone together.’
The village green scheme forms part of a successful bid to The National Lottery Community Fund. That secured grant funding of £84,000 in total, (including funding, from Low Carbon Dorset) and £45,000 has been allocated to the village green upgrade. The remainder has funded improvements to make Comrades Hall more environmentally friendly, with the installation of 36 solar panels and an air source heat pump central heating system, which replaced the old oil-fired one, plus improved insulation.
Planning permission has been granted for exciting new play equipment for the upper section of the green (Read more HERE.). At the lower end, the existing old swings will be removed and a new oak-framed shelter is being installed. The idea is to make the most of the opened-up space for community events and outdoor exercise.
Since the project was first mooted two years ago, costs have risen by around £20,000.
Margery Hookings, who is leading the Crowdfunder appeal on behalf of Comrades Hall Management Committee, said: ‘Fundraising events are planned but we really hope people and local businesses will support our appeal to meet the shortfall.
‘During the pandemic, when we could only go out to exercise, our village green became even more important to us as a community.
‘Bernards’ Place is something we all treasure. By reconfiguring the space, adding new, inclusive and challenging play and activity equipment, introducing exercise sessions and equipment for all ages, as well as staging community events, there will be something for all of us to enjoy, bringing together people of all ages and abilities, and helping to improve health and well-being.
‘It will provide an enhanced facility to keep our community physically active and encourage others, who don’t necessarily see themselves as ‘sporty’, to join in.
‘Local artist Donna Heys has again kindly created a “thermometer” to chart the appeal’s progress. As donations are received, the illustration will be coloured in, in stages, until we reach our target.’
Sport England has pledged £8,000 towards the appeal once the £5,000 mark has been reached. Payment of the grant relies on there being at least 100 unique supporters and reaching the £20,000 target.
The village has a strong track record of raising money through Crowdfunder. In 2020, Broadwindsor Cricket Club raised £35,785 to buy its ground, with 191 supporters in 27 days. Then, in February this year, campaigners raised £34,760, with 337 supporters in 28 days, to reopen The White Lion as a community pub.
Margery said: ‘We appreciate that money is tight and this new appeal might be a tall order after the successful campaign to save The White Lion.
‘However, through crowdfunding we have an opportunity to unlock potential extra funding, so any donation, big or small, will help the Comrades Hall enormously to replenish diminishing resources.
‘It is important to the village to get this project done. We all know, particularly after the pandemic, how vital outside space is to everyone’s health and well-being. This will make such a difference to young and old and all those in between, for generations to come.’
To support the appeal, please visit: