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Kilkishen amenity funding target hit

KILKISHEN Community Playground will shortly have its full range of facilities restored, after a successful campaign to raise funds for vital repairs. A risk assessment recently revealed problems with some of equipment in the popular amenity and meant that the swings had to be removed. When the repair bill ran to €2,500, it presented a challenge for Kilkishen Development Association, who look after the playground.

“The risk assessment identified items we needed to repair as soon as possible,” said Treasurer, Olivia King. “The swings had to be taken out. The bill looked massive when we got it first, because all of our traditional ways of fundraising were closed off to us. We couldn’t hold the usual fundraisers like cake sales because we couldn’t bring people together during lockdown.”

The solution came by way of a Go Fund Me campaign which received a hugely positive response from the local community. “It worked out really well and, in the end, the target turned out to be relatively achievable,” Olivia said. “On Tuesday last, we achieved our goal and people are just delighted because we’ll be able to move on with the safety works.”

The playground was developed as a community facility and opened in 2010. Since then, it has proven to be a well-used amenity. “I think people really appreciate having the playground in the local area,” said Olivia. “It is very popular and people make the most of it.”

Last year’s first lockdown saw the closure of the Kilkishen Community Playground and Olivia and the development association were delighted when they were allowed to reopen last summer. “From once the restrictions eased last summer, playgrounds around the country were allowed to open and allowed to stay open,” Olivia said. “I think authorities realised the importance of having them open, especially when the schools were closed for so long. The kids really missed the playground when it had to close last year, but thankfully it’s been open since last summer.”

Olivia said the association is also delighted to have been able to keep the playground open following the safety inspection. “We had to take out the swings, but at least we were able to continue to offer the other equipment,” she said. “It’s meant a lot to people to be able to bring their children here when so many things have been closed.”

The timeframe for the repair works is something the development association can finally begin to think of now that the funding target has been reached. “We are hopeful that safety works can be done in the first half of May,” said Olivia. “We can order the equipment now and are fairly confident it will arrive in the coming weeks so we can offer the full range of amenities again in the playground.”

While it was a new departure for the development association to turn to online methods, the fundraising drive was still widely publicised locally and received huge backing. “I would really like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the funding appeal,” Olivia said. “The local community really got behind the fundraising drive. We are so grateful for the help and it shows that people value their local facilities and are prepared to support them.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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