Bonanza for coastal youngsters

YOUNG children and teenagers in the Suffolk Coastal area have been given an early Christmas present - lottery funding for three exciting play schemes.The projects - a modern play area at Langer Park, Felixstowe, a double-decker play bus to tour rural areas in the north of the district, and an off-road cycle trail through Rendlesham Forest and a play area - have received £209,312.

YOUNG children and teenagers in the Suffolk Coastal area have been given an early Christmas present - lottery funding for three exciting play schemes.

The projects - a modern play area at Langer Park, Felixstowe, a double-decker play bus to tour rural areas in the north of the district, and an off-road cycle trail through Rendlesham Forest and a play area - have received £209,312.

The projects, part of a major play strategy drawn up for the district, were chosen after young people were asked for their views.

Council cabinet member Kevin Keable said: “This is great news as these exciting projects will now be able to get under way and provide fun and stimulating activities thanks to the BIG Lottery Fund recognising their potential.”

Cabinet member for young people Doreen Savage said the money recognised the value of play, how it can add to children's welfare and development and the benefits it can bring to society.

“Young people helped us draw up the strategy, which sets out how we and all our partners can work together to ensure that the importance of play is at the core of all future developments in our district,” said Mrs Savage.

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“Our goal was to increase the opportunities for imaginative and adventurous play and this excellent lottery fund news shows we are already being successful.”

The projects are expected to benefit around 4,000 children and teenagers in areas which have the greatest lack of play opportunities.

By developing its strategy, and working with organisations in towns and villages, and the countywide group Partners in Play Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal is aiming to identify what the district needs, where resources ought to be targeted and attract the money to make them possible.

Earlier this year the council consulted with children and young people and organisations working with them. Among the results was that one of the most popular activities for children was cycling, and outdoor adventure activities were also popular.

Over half of year nine young people wanted somewhere they could sit and chat as well as take part in an activity.

Do you think it's good use of lottery money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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