New play area for Portbury

£19,762 grant for play equipment for local children

Children in Portbury village are enjoying new play equipment funded by a £19,762 grant from National Grid, boosting a grant from Portbury Parish Council for £5,300.

Existing equipment in Portbury play area was suitable only for older children and had become broken and tired after years of use. There was no equipment for young children to use, leaving many without anywhere to play in the local community.

Rob Larder, who is dad to Freya, aged 6, took on the challenge of fundraising for a new play area and first organised a consultation to understand what equipment local families would like to see, and where they would like it to be placed.

With a site chosen opposite the Primary School for ease of access, National Grid was approached to help finance the purchase of a multi-activity tower, an infant play coach, and four swings with a disabled seat. The grant also helped to fund the cost of safety mats, fences, gates, groundworks, and the installation of equipment.

In May and with summer just around the corner, around 40 local people rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in to help deliver the project in time for the whole community to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather.

“We are hugely grateful to National Grid for helping us make such a difference to our village.”

Rob says, “Portbury really needed a new play park.  We’re relatively isolated here and were the only village locally not to have somewhere for young families to meet and play. Since we installed the new equipment, it’s proved extremely popular and has become a real focal point for the community during the pandemic.  Added to that is the added sense of community pride from so many people working together to achieve it.  The grant process was really simple and we are hugely grateful to National Grid for helping us make such a difference to our village.”

Gillian Burnell, from National Grid’s Hinkley Connection Project, added “We’re proud to support Portbury and to help local families access safe, reliable play equipment in the heart of their community. It was brilliant to join Rob Larder and Wendy Cowlard, Chair of the Parish Council at the park recently to see local kids happily running around and using the play area after school.”