We at Playdale are very aware of the community focal point that a good playground can provide, and what a positive impact they can make. A playground can represent a hugely positive asset to a community or public space.
Even with the best will in the world, a quality, fun and hard-wearing playground can represent a serious outlay for a school or Parish council. There are however many ways to get help with funding your project. Thankfully there are plenty of sources of funding available, depending on which criteria your organisation fits.
There are many avenues you can pursue in your quest to get your playground funded. Before applying to the relevant bodies, there are a few things you can do to make the process smoother and less stressful, with a greater chance of success.
Funders will likely have different criteria of who their funding is available to. Their money may come from a different source or public pot, or the organisation may be more geared towards certain projects or avenues. Before you apply, check that your project fits into one or more of their categories. Of course this is not always exact, and it may be a case of seeing what happens, but it is worth checking first if there is any chance of receiving the funding you’re seeking.
You will need a clear vision of what you want your playground to look like, and how you think you will achieve your aims. Funders will want to know that it is a viable proposition, and that you have thought about it and done your research. It’s also a good idea to have a look at what equipment you want exactly. Why not have a look at our product range for inspiration or meet with your local Area Manager.
At some point in the process, you may need to liaise with the community to find out what they would want to see from a playground. Not only does this give you a solid footing on which to base your application, it might also help you to better plan your playground around the eventual users. Playgrounds are an incredible community resource, so it makes a lot of sense for the community to have some input.
Doing so can help you to design your playground around the eventual user, ensuring that the playground is fit for purpose, and can also help to fund the whole project from the get-go. If you can get people to feel truly invested in your playground, they can feel a sense of ownership that only makes the final result more popular; not only is it your playground, it is their playground too. The community’s help in getting a project built can be a hugely positive thing for the local area.
At Playdale, we can offer advice about what types of funding are available in your area. We can also offer advice about feasibility of both equipment, and of playground sites. We have years of experience in building playgrounds in all kinds of places, so we can offer support and expertise in achieving what you want.
Think about your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to turn those weaknesses into positives – turn problems into solutions. Also make sure you communicate with people who may be interested in your project, or invested in some way. Get both your budget and your timescale sorted – these are crucial when funders assess the feasibility of your playground.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for fundraising. It can make all the difference in providing the money that you need to get a playground out of your imagination and into the public space. The same principles apply as for a traditional fundraiser – you’re trying to get people engaged, trying to appeal to their imaginations, and of course their good nature!
Using a Facebook group to draw attention to your build is a great place to start, and can be a hugely effective way of reaching a large number of people in a short space of time, and to build momentum around your project. A social media campaign is very often the starting point for any community project, and can help you understand local needs, and to get people on board from day one.
This can take the form of a fundraising target, an advisory board, or however else you want to use it. The important thing is to make people feel that you’re doing something that is of benefit to the local area.
Having a funding target, and showing how far you are from it, is a great way to show people where their money is going. You can also post regular updates of the design and build of your playground – not only does this help to show people how progress is doing, it can also help to build anticipation and excitement of the playground actually opening.
It is also a really positive thing to have an open, direct channel of communication with the local community. You can answer any questions or concerns, take suggestions, and stay informed about what is happening in the local area. It is, in effect, both a community bulletin board and an open forum for discussion. Keep people engaged by letting them know what’s happening, and that they are involved in the decision-making process.
Our funding guide document provides a worksheet for you to use, to help all of this become more clear, and to help guide you through the application process. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to get the ball rolling with your ideas or vision, or to discuss anything related to creating your perfect playground.
Finding funding can be a sticky issue for any project, but we are here to help, and to guide you towards finding exactly what you want and need out of your playground.
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