Branksome Recreation Ground occupies 90,000 square metres and provides the only significant public space for residents of East Poole. Throughout 2017, work was carried out on fundraising bids to improve the Ground, involving the Borough of Poole working in partnership with the Poole Communities Trust at the Branksome Centre; The Friends of Branksome Rec; and Branksome West Residents Association; with support from Ward Councillors, Heatherlands Primary School and local residents.
Funding of £150,000 was secured for the project, which in addition to the playpark development includes footpath improvements, new boundary fencing and additional seating. The original play area was small, with equipment that failed to cater for the full range and ability of users. The works carried out includes the creation of a larger, more open and user-friendly area, drawing the community centre – that previously sat separate to the park – into the heart of the new space. The community led Branksome Centre, which is mainly staffed by volunteers, incorporates a café and toilets, and will create even more of a community hub, encouraging local residents to become involved and develop a sense of ownership of the space.
Councillor John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment, Borough of Poole commented: “It’s great to see this exciting outdoor space being revitalised and brought up to date for the local community to enjoy. The redesign, which has incorporated the Branksome Centre as a focal point of the playpark, will be of great benefit to all. I’d like to thank the Environmental Services Open Spaces Development team for their excellent work on this project”
Mayor of Poole, Councillor Sean Gabriel commented: “It has been a pleasure to officially open the new playpark for residents and visitors to use. Branksome Recreation Ground has always been a valued outdoor space, and it is great to see these improvements continuing to delight all who use it.”
Councillor Philip Eades, Branksome West Ward commented: “The redesigned space will no doubt provide hours of entertainment for local children and will bring a real sense of community. It provides an invaluable space for all, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on this area.”
It is estimated the Branksome Recreation Ground improvements will benefit around 38,000 residents, encouraging people to enjoy the outdoor space, become more physically active and create volunteering opportunities within the local community.