Girls appeal for play equipment
TOMBOYS Samanthan Horne and Yasmin Judd are fed up of being left on the sidelines while the boys in their Suffolk village have all the fun.There's only a football field and two hard courts in Shotley Gate – hardly enough to keep two active girls busy – and they would like some decent play equipment, like their neighbours in Chelmodiston, further up the Shotley Peninsula.
By Tina Heath
TOMBOYS Samanthan Horne and Yasmin Judd are fed up of being left on the sidelines while the boys in their Suffolk village have all the fun.
There's only a football field and two hard courts in Shotley Gate – hardly enough to keep two active girls busy – and they would like some decent play equipment, like their neighbours in Chelmodiston, further up the Shotley Peninsula.
"We get fed up of having to go to Chelmo park all the time. There's only a tennis court, basketball court and football pitch here but we can never play football because the boys are always there.
"Basketball gets boring and so does tennis and there isn't even a proper net to hit the ball over," said angry Samanthan, 11.
"We would like a climbing frame, a seesaw, roundabout and things like that," added pal Yasmin, ten.
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Shotley Action Re Play (SHARP) backed the girl's claims, saying there are three large estates and many young families living in Shotley Gate with little more than a swing between them.
The community group, who is working towards better play facilities for youngsters in the area, is desperate for volunteers and new fundraising ideas but say a surfeit of worthy causes are "bleeding the village dry".
Meanwhile Yasmin's mum Lynn Judd is worried about the safety of the two girls as they search for fun at half term.
The pair, who are both pupils at Shotley Primary School, had started to climb trees at a wood along Shotley shore for entertainment but according to care assistant Mrs Judd there has been a number of nasty accidents there over the years.
Nearly five years ago a group of parents under the name Shotley Action Re Play raised in excess of £7,000 to buy former MOD land off Great Harlings in the village with a view to turning it into a play area.
They have fenced off the two acre plot, installed a dog walking area, basket ball nets and football posts but are now struggling to keep apace with huge fundraising targets.
"We are as frustrated as the kids there is nothing down there," said SHARP chairwoman Tracey Plested. "The trouble is we are a very small community. We have a lot of fundraising groups within the village all working on separate projects and everybody is being bleed dry."
The community council looks after park land and a few dilapidated swings at Kingsland, which is leased off Babergh District Council. Community council treasurer Norman Bugg said the need for improved play equipment in the village had been realised and would be discussed at a parish council meeting on February 21.
Shotley parish council would be willing to offer SHARP a grant for play equipment if they were presented with a realistic proposal, said chairman Patrick Mann.
N SHARP can be contacted on 01473 787522