Widdington Village Playground, Essex

An unexpectedly successful coffee morning, which raised £270 for the local toddler group, was the original inspiration for a new playground in the tiny north Essex village of Widdington.

It was 2007 and, buoyed by this first money raising success, the parents at Widdington's local toddler group 'Hedgehogs', began to discuss the sorry state of the existing village playground. They had raised their first £270 easily; surely it would be possible to raise funds  for a whole new village playground.

Sarah Weir, who was involved in the project, looks back on their optimism with amusement: "We were so naïve - we really didn't understand then what hard work it would be to raise so much money, nor did we realise then that it was going to cost £60,000! But we thought, 'let's give it a go'".

Sarah says Widdington village backed the fundraising events with enthusiasm and generosity. "The village support was tremendous, and nearby Saffron Walden community was also really generous. After months of donations and events, we'd raised around £10,000 - but it was obvious that we'd started to climb a much bigger mountain than we realised.

"It was about this time that we heard Viridor Credits had awarded us over £30,000. It was such a huge sigh of relief: It was incredible and gave us a financial and morale boost."

The beautiful, landscaped playground, designed by the villagers to include a bike track with a toy petrol pump and play equipment for every age group up to 12 years, was finished in 2010. It was officially opened on 3rd October - three years and a day after the parents of Widdington came up with their ambitious but inspirational plan.


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