A parent-led charity has been awarded more than £9,000 to refurbish a playground in Epping.

The Epping Playground Association was set up in 2019 and is led by 5 parent volunteers.

They were awarded £9,444 from The National Lottery Community Fund and IKEA UK, as part of the £1.5m pilot programme ‘Places Called Home’.

The programme is supporting more than 330 local communities across the UK with grants of up to £5,000 to build back better and differently as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The charity aims to completely redevelop the community play and recreation area at Lower Swaines Recreation.

It was established after local parents realised that the playground was underused and there wasn’t funding available from the local town council to improve the facilities.

The playground is currently not fit for purpose and does not meet the needs of the growing number of young children in the area.

So far, they have raised nearly £48,000 of the £120,000 they need in order to completely regenerate the area.

They want to turn it into a nature-led, playful space for all, helping the community to make the most of the local outdoor space.

The southwest corner of the site is the toddler zone, with the focus being on 0-6-year olds and as you move through the site, the intended age range and challenge increases to include up-to 10 years.

Once you move to outside of the fence line, this equipment is intended for 12 years +, with the static street workout system providing exercise for all ages.

Siobhan Garret, Chairperson for the Epping Playground Association said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way.

"Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to press on with our plans to create a new, exciting and inclusive play and social space that’s available to all local children, of all abilities and their parents.

"We’re conscious that around 20% of children in Epping Forest are living in poverty and many children don’t have gardens or outdoor spaces to play."