The Rec’s in fine fettle, but the coffers are empty

Play on: Ribchester's children's playground is one of the best for miles around following its major refit.
Play on: Ribchester's children's playground is one of the best for miles around following its major refit.

After a year of community effort, Ribchester now has one of the best children’s playgrounds in the region.

Over the past 12 months the whole playground area has been upgraded. The wooden stockade has been repaired and painted and is now in tip-top condition, together with the rest of the play equipment and the special safety surfacing.

The Recreation Field in Ribchester, known to one and all as “The Rec”, has now re-opened after itsa massive facelift. It is nearly 30 years now since the well-loved, and well-used, adventure playground was first developed on The Rec and while improvements and repairs have been an ongoing affair, this is its first major refit.

The Rec is run by a village group of trustees and not owned by the local council as many visitors naturally, assume. Under the umbrella of The National Playing Fields Association, the trustees are responsible for the upkeep of this great facility. New features such as a roundabout and younger children’s climbing frame and house have been added and, most importantly of all, the springy safety surface around the area has been replaced.

One of the trustees, Keith Flood, explained: “It all costs money, of course – a lot of money – not only to do major upgrades such as this, but also just to run and maintain The Rec day to day.

“We, the trustees, are very grateful for the help and support which we receive from the local community and also from visitors from far and wide who appreciate the clean and safe facilities.”

One way that money is raised is through the Annual Duck Race on the River Ribble, which can net £1,500 towards the upkeep. Donations from villagers and visitors are also important, but for a major job such as the recent refit then the trustees are dependent on the support of major funding bodies and Ribble Valley Borough Council.

“This upgrade has cost over £66,000,” said Mr Flood, “quite a sum for a small village! Support has come from local charities such as The Harris Trust in Preston, The Church Street Fund in the village itself, Ribble Valley Council, and national re-cycling company SITA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, with DEFRA as the Managing Authority.

Trustees chairman Tim Rainford added: “Without this level of support, the wonderful facilities on the field would have not just withered away, but would have been unusable and condemned.

“The Trust is a registered charity with an excellent track record in raising funds and, particularly, in using them responsibly. Now though, the coffers are empty and The Trustees would be grateful for any support which the village and the wider community can give to raise the money necessary to maintain the present facilities and upgrade other areas.

“The next urgent requirement is a new football pavilion. Estimates as to the age of the present one vary, but it is probably more than 80 years old... and looks it!”

Ribchester footballers past and present are being invited to join the trustees in raising the funds necessary to provide a modern facility on The Rec.

General donations to “Ribchester Playing Field Trust” or specifically for the pavilion can be sent to Mr Rainford at: Ribbledene, Greenside, Ribchester, PR3 3ZJ.

Alternatively you can text a donation through “Just Text Giving” by texting PLAY20£(the amount you wish to donate e.g. £10 or £50) to 70070.

“Your help is really needed at this time both to help the trustees maintain the new facilities and to finish the upgrade on other aspects of the Rec,” said Mr Rainford.