Funding battle victory for Hook Norton village playground

A funding campaign that went all the way up to prime minister David Cameron has reaped almost £100,000 in grants.

Hook Norton village playground, complete with slides, 40m zip wire and swings, officially opened last week after a long fight spearheaded by local e-commerce consultant Emma Kane.

The campaign took off after the funds allocated under the Playbuilder scheme were lost when the initiative was axed after the general election. Despite a U-turn, funding still failed to materialise from central and local government, said Kane.

"We emailed Cameron, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the education department and all 72 local councillors." The action snowballed with Kane receiving an email every second at peak. The BBC picked up the story, which then made it onto the internet, TV and radio news.

Efforts were rewarded when the education department told her Playbuilder would award £47,000, while Cherwell District Council gave £10,000. The rest of the £99,000 cost came from local groups and businesses.

"You have to explore every avenue," said Kane. "Turning points were emailing politicians and the BBC picking up the story. You also need a good application. We made a film, drew up colourful plans and got the village behind us in a consultation."

Kane will talk about her experiences at PlayFair, Stoneleigh Park, on 21-22 June. See http://playfairuk.com.


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