Adventure Play Park
The Play Park has been re-opened from 20/08/2020 for use at own risk and subject to guidelines which have been displayed on signage at the site and on the village notice board. The guidelines can also be read here.
The Parish Council has now taken on full responsibility for the Play Area and confirmation has been received from the Charity Commission that the Play Council Charity has been closed by them.
The improved Play Area was opened over the two days of the Open Gardens Weekend August 30 & 31st 2009 by the Play Council Committee. The extremely enthusiastic and dedicated committee expended a lot of effort over a few months prior to the re-opening.
The Play Council emerged from the original Youth Forum which did such great work putting the Millenium Village Appraisal into action. Local children were asked what they wanted in Walsham and then following successful grant applications, including a £50,000 Playbuilder grant, the Skatepark and MUGA were built.
The Lease of land in Townhouse Road from Old Town Trust to the Parish Council as Tenants was signed in 1986 for a period of 28 years and was then reviewed and extended until 2035. The Parish Council originally held the land known as the Play Park, upon trust for the Play Council which is a registered charity (293364).
A fantastic group of volunteers from the village, with the agreement of the Parish Council, has completed valuable work consulting with residents on ideas for the development of the Play Area on Townhouse Road. They also took on the formidable task of removing the skate ramp which had become unsafe.
Their excellent volunteer consultation exercise has resulted in a plan of phased development ready to be used for fundraising and then implemented. They continue their work behind the scenes on further consultations, on fundraising from local organisations and on getting the support of the school and sports club for future fundraising efforts.
From April 1st 2018, the Parish Council assumed direct responsibility for the day to day running costs and maintenance in place of an annual grant to the Play Council for these costs. More development has not been able to happen because it proved impossible to maintain a full committee as required by the constitution and therefore trustees of the charity to administer development funding. The Parish Council is legally not allowed to be in receipt of charitable funding as it is not, and cannot be, a charity. However, now that is has been established that sufficent non-charitable funds can be raised by the Parish Council for development, the Parish Council can take on this responsibility alongside the day to day management.
The Charity Commission was therefore asked for consent to the amendment of the Constitution in order to allow the assets of the Play Council to be passed to the Parish Council as a non-charitable body so these are retained within the village for the benefit of local people. Alternatively the assets would have been passed to another charity with similar charitable objectives and this would have meant losing the assets to another charity in Suffolk as of those charities in the village that met the criteria, none was prepared to take on the management and development of the Play Area.
Minutes of the Play Council AGM held on 29th May 2020 document the reappointment of a quorum of committee members and resolutions to change the Constitution to allow the assets of the charity to be transferred to the Parish Council and to dissolve the charity.
A few more steps are required to complete this process and they are in hand. Discussions are taking place with the Old Town Trust about updating the lease to the Parish Council and the remaining steps required to formally wind up the charity with the Charity Commission.
As with all community working groups, a constant flow of new members is needed to keep things moving forward. If you would like to be involved with the Play Council Volunteers who work together to undertake practical tasks to realise the development plans agreed with the Parish Council, then please get in touch the Parish Clerk to register your interest. The vounteer group will report back to the Parish Council at regular intervals to agree plans of action as development proceeds.