Upgrade For Strand On The Green Rec

Following long campaign by local residents' group


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After more than 18 months of campaigning by the Strand on the Green Residents Association (SOGA) we have finally been given the go ahead from LBH indicating that both the Playground and Recreational Ground will be upgraded this summer. As a SOGA committee member I have been putting pressure on LBH to update the tired and worn existing playground at the local Rec Ground after moving into the area with my young family over 3 years ago.

“Strand on the Green is a lovely and ideal place for families with young children as there are great local schools, amenities and scenic walks besides the river. However there is a real lack of a local area with a decent playground space and outdoor space for play and leisure pursuits. The existing playground at the Rec ground is in a ruinous state with many of the existing play apparatus broken and rusting and little used nowadays due to its decrepit state. In addition, little attention had been given over the years to the rest of the Rec Ground space. The park’s paths are pot-holed and crumbling, there are few rubbish bins and park benches meaning that litter is often dropped and is little used for sitting down for some quiet contemplation moments. The sports field has mainly been used for exercising dogs rather than for a suitable space to play sports and for kids to run around with the turf being well-worn and pot-holed and the goal posted rusting and bent. It was clear that we needed to bring the Rec Ground into the 21st Century to allow it to be enjoyed again by the local community after so many years of neglect. Hence the Strand’s resident association set the revival of our Rec Ground as one of our key goals to achieve this year.”

To elicit support, we contacted the Leisure and Parks Manager at LBH to request that the Rec’s playground should be scheduled for an upgrade along with other playgrounds that were planned for an upgrade within the Council’s territory. After many discussion and pressure from the Resident’s association, LBH finally agreed to add the Strand’s Recreational Ground to their list of children’s playgrounds needing a significant upgrade. We worked with Fareeda Ahmed from Carillion Services that manages park space for LBH and attended the tendering process for the selection of the most suitable playground design for the new playground. In partnership with Carillion, we have managed to select a modern, highly engaging and modern new playground as detailed in the attached plan. The new playground will have play apparatus for both the under 5’s as well as for older children. We are really excited that the new playground will transform the Rec Ground and the work will commence at the beginning of July and should be completed by the time the schools break up for summer holidays.

We also wanted to improve the rest of the Rec ground but LBH indicated that there were no further funds available to upgrade the rest of the Rec Ground. Hence the we decided to try and fund raise ourselves and elicited the help of Ruth Hutton, whose the Coordinator for the Thames Strategy-Kew to Chelsea Group (TKSC). Ruth suggested a number of charitable organisations that provide funding for supporting local community leisure and recreational projects. Ruth on our behalf applied for a grant to the London Marathon Charitable Trust and we were indeed successful. We were absolutely delighted to win a grant from the London Marathon trust for a sum of £50K towards our planned upgrade to the park. After some negotiations with LBH and Carillion we have an agreed to upgrade other much needed aspects of the Rec Ground. We plan to renew the Rec’s entrance and repair the damaged tarmac pathway, add a new front gate, demolish the old WC building at the side of the entrance to open up the space and also add much needed park benches and bins within the park.

Many dog-owners use the Rec for walking and exercising their animals in the dog pen. We will continue to respect the rights of those wishing to use the Rec for their dogs and hence we will be adding more dog waste-bins within the dog pen area. In addition, we have agreement from Carillion that later this year we will add some new trees to the far end corner of the Rec plus add some new planting bedding to improve the nature of the park.

We were also keen to reinvigorate the Rec ground as a space not just for leisure but also for sport purposes given that the field is little used nowadays for playing games and is used more for letting dogs exercise off their leads. Hence we approached Brentford Football club (BFC) to see if they would be willing to upgrade the sports field as part of their support for local community sports projects. We are very happy to say that BFC were very willing to assist us and have volunteered to upgrade the sports field by repairing the worn turf, adding new goal posts and pitch markings. This is great news and we are very grateful to BFC for their kind assistance in enabling us to have access to a fit for purpose sports field for use by all the local community including for the neighbouring Strand on the Green primary school. The works to the sport field should be complete by the time we hold our annual Strand summer party on Saturday 5th July. BFC have agreed to host the event at the Rec Ground and provide football coaches on the day to any children who want to improve their ball skills. There will also be a football competition on the day and other fun activities planned on an inflatable pitch.

Strand on the Green residents association are really pleased that this project is finally about to embark and transform into a valued benefit for all the local community. We are all really excited about the prospect of soon having a new playground and leisure and sports field space that will be will a fantastic resource for everyone including the young and older folk within the Strand on the Green vicinity. We hope that once the works are complete that the Rec Ground will become a well deserved focal point for many future varied leisure and outdoor activities for all.

Jan-Paul Rosen

June 20, 2014

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