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Village play equipment returns through community funds


A much loved piece of play equipment in Docking has returned – bigger and better than ever – partly thanks to a grant from Freebridge Community Housing.

The original zip line at Docking Playing Field broke after 10 years of use and it’s taken the committee two years to raise the funds needed to replace it. They’ve finally been able to put in a brand new one costing almost £9000 thanks to a variety of support grants from a number of organisations including Jack’s Lane Wind Farm in Stanhoe, the Borough Council, Lugden Hill Charity Fund and the Freebridge Community Fund.

The new zip line has moved position slightly to make it much longer and faster as David Meek, the chair of the association, explains: “We’ve got a bit of a slope here and it also means you can have a 30 metre run which is the maximum you can have with this sort of equipment. The old one was on a flat surface and only went 18 metres.”.

When the play area was originally created, the committee gave the local schoolchildren the equipment brochure and let them choose what would be included. The zip line was the most popular choice and it’s been a huge hit amongst the village’s young people ever since.

Work was finally completed on site a few weeks ago but sadly it’s still not able to be used because of coronavirus. The whole play area in fact is currently closed and the committee have removed the seat from the new zipline to ensure the restrictions aren’t ignored.

David explains why it’s not opening yet: “We want to make sure that everyone is safe, and because it’s owned by the village we have to fund our own expenses like deep cleaning”. Their income has also been significantly reduced because of the Coronavirus pandemic as they’d normally hire the tennis courts out, do school sports and rent the fields to local football teams to raise money.

The funding from Freebridge’s Community Fund is part of a number of grants provided to West Norfolk charities and community groups by the housing association. Thirteen projects across the area have benefitted this year, with each being awarded amounts up to £1000. This year Freebridge raised the amount available to the fund to £10,000, double the £5000 that is normally offered, to mark the fact that they've been providing this money to groups for a decade.