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Facelift at the Memorial - posted November 24th, 2011

Hethersett Memorial Playing Field is undergoing a major facelift with tree planting and new play equipment just two of the features being put into place over the next few weeks.

Work will start shortly to provide new play equipment which will include adventure climbing towers within a multiplay unit, a carousel, a playhouse, play bus, springer, trim trail, picnic table and a mushroom seat with accompanying play panels. The area will also be fenced off to help with safety after requests from parents. The new equipment is aimed at the younger age range of four to eight year olds but the Memorial Playing Field Trust is also looking at funding to provide further equipment for older children and young adults. It is hoped to have an official launch of the new equipment early in the New Year.

The new equipment has been partly funded through grants from The Veolia Environmental Trust, the Geoffrey Watling Foundation and the South Norfolk Neighbourhood Scheme. The Veolia Trust's Executive Director Margaret Cobbold welcomed the Hethersett scheme: "We support community and environmental projects across the UK and it is one of our priorities to support the creation of spaces for play. I look forward to seeing the work progress,” she said.  

In addition to the play equipment, 17 new trees will be planted in the field before the end of the year to help enhance the environment. Other enhancements on the park in the future could include a wildlife area, petanque pitch, a new memorial telling the history of the park and additional landscaping.

It is also hoped to set-up a new Friends of the Park group to help organise events. Hethersett Memorial Playing Field is currently the home of three sports clubs - Hethersett Athletic Football Club, Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club and Hethersett memorial Field Bowls Club.

Next year will see major international cycle speedway fixtures, an Olympic themed open weekend, a come and try sports evening and a number of other events on the field:

"We want to make the Memorial Playing field the focal point for the village and we are very excited by what has already been achieved and what can be achieved in the future," said chair of the Memorial Playing Field Trust and Hethersett Parish Councillor Simon Floyd.

The field is also looking for a park warden. This is a voluntary position but includes an honorarium. 

The Veolia Environmental Trust has been supporting community and environmental projects for over 12 years. Under the Landfill Communities Fund , landfill site operators can donate a percentage , currently 6.2%, of their landfill tax payment to these projects. Since the Trust was established in 1997 , Veolia Environmental Services (UK) plc has supported it by contributions of nearly £47 million to 1280 projects.  

The Trust has helped fund a diverse range of projects , including the repair of woodland footpaths , the renovation of community halls and the installation of playgrounds and play areas. For more information , or to find out how to apply for funding , visit the Trust’s website by clicking here 

The Geoffrey Watling Trust was established in 1993 and distributes grants to worthy projects in Norfolk and the Waveney Valley in Suffolk. It is run by a board of trustees in memory of Norfolk businessman Geoffrey Watling. The Geoffrey Watling Trust has a web site which can be accessed by clicking here.

The South Norfolk Neighbourhood Scheme provides grants and funding for local initiatives in South Norfolk and is run by South Norfolk Council.