A Helsby parish councillor is on a mission to get the village’s large elderly population fighting fit by creating an adult playground for them to use.
Cllr Terry O’Neill has applied to Active Cheshire for funding to compile a feasibility study into transforming a barren patch of land off Lower Robin Hood Lane into a community facility offering grown-up play and fitness equipment.
Cllr O’Neill said that while the council has invested in children’s play facilities, there is nowhere in Helsby for older people to be active.
After seeing such a scheme in action during a trip Down Under earlier this year, he was inspired to change that.
He explained: “I have always been interested in providing an adult outdoor play area ever since I found out about them, some years ago.
“My views about this were made more determined when I saw a play area of this kind on a trip to Adelaide in January.
“As we have one of the highest percentages of over 70s living in Helsby compared to the rest of the borough, this would give them somewhere to participate and get active.”
Cllr O’Neill is proposing the playground is located where Sherwood Court Care Home once stood. He said that state of the disused land, which is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council , emerged as a concern for residents in the neighbourhood plan process.
Active Cheshire – a charity which aims to encourage 50,000 people to be more active, more often by 2017 – is offering grants of £15,000, £5,000 and £1,000 to projects which engage people in the community.
Cllr O’Neill’s entry for one of the £5,000 grants received more than 100 votes in one day and he is urging local people to support his vision:
“If you ask the professionals they will all tell you the best thing older people can do is to keep active which this project will help with.”
If the bid is successful, a feasibility study would explore the costs and financing of the project.
- Visit the website www.activecheshire.org/active-anywhere/latest5k by January 5, 2015 to vote.