Opened in Spring 2010
West Bay Play Area
West Bay Road - Car Park
Exciting New Play Area in West Bay
An innovative new play area opened at West Bay in May 2010.
Bridport Town Council has been working with young people who have been involved in the Summentor Mentoring Programme and with the support of Bridport Young Persons’ Action Trust (BYPAT) to finalise the design for an exciting new play area in West Bay. The young people have been heavily involved in developing and designing the play area, which in the words of 14 year old Nathan Baxter “will be for everyone from 0-99!”
This unique play area has been designed to reflect its setting on the Jurassic Coast and the area’s history of rope making. The purpose built design is based on a “ship” wrecked on the rocks and broken into three pieces, with robust climbing structures and swings. The Town Council will be working with a local company, rope and net specialists Huck Nets, to build the play area, which is to be sited between the main West Bay Road car park and the cycleway footway (the old railway line) just north of the station. The land to be used is to be transferred from West Dorset District Council to the Town Council.
Work on the play area started over the winter and opened in May 2010. The play area is being provided with funding from Bridport Town Council, West Dorset District Council, the Dorset County Council’s Playbuilder Programme (funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families), Dorset County Council’s Youth Capital Fund and the Bridport Charter Fair.
Town Councillor Maggie Ray, Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and member of the Play Area Steering Group said: “The Town Council has been working for some time to obtain funding for this play area and it is very pleasing that we will now see such an innovative design that the young people have chosen themselves, finally being delivered. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the project and raising the funding that has made this possible, particularly the young people themselves, Arthur Woodgate and the Town Surveyor, Daryl Chambers.”
Arthur Woodgate, creator of the Summentor Project and founder and Chair of local charity BYPAT, said “This is one of the nicest projects I’ve ever been involved with (and I’ve been involved in quite a lot). Now well-established, Summentor was piloted three years ago. Senior mentors from the Sir John Colfox School worked in the summer with junior school leavers who faced potential difficulties in dealing with the transition to senior school. It worked brilliantly well.”
He explained that the twenty young people on the first Summentor Project had identified the need for a play area for those of their own age, had helped research the demand and then set about designing the area themselves. A very promising funding bid to the Big Lottery had then, however, failed to come through.
“Three years later, here they are, still determined to make this work and, with the help of a Town Council always ready to support the young people of our community and thanks to the unfaltering determination of Town Surveyor, Daryl Chambers, they’ve done it. Their ideas have been adopted and they’ve made all decisions relating to the layout of the park and what goes into it. They’re totally thrilled and it’s impossible not to be just as thrilled on their behalf.”
The youngsters themselves were particularly pleased to have been able to raise a grant of over £9,000 from the Youth Capital Fund, which only young people can apply to. Led by 17 year old Debbie Bird, a Mentor on the first Summentor Project, the young people were very clear about what they were trying to achieve and why. The young people quoted in the Youth Capital Fund application said:
“We will create a place where teenagers can go. It will be the first teenage playground in West Dorset and it has been designed by us teenagers. It’s not just for teenagers but it will be mainly for teenagers because we don’t have places to go like little kids do. In West Bay there is literally no place to go. There’s no place we can go where people don’t look at us like we shouldn’t be there. We are trying to do something positive and go against the media and its labelling of teenagers.
“If you’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do, you can get bored and with some people this can lead to vandalism, bad behaviour and sometimes violence. Creating a good place with a good atmosphere is a positive thing to do. It will be ours. We will feel safe there and we think others will too.
“We’re going to enjoy being there. It will be ours and for teenagers like us and we think everyone will enjoy it. It won’t be just us. We think everyone will want to use it. It’s been designed for teenagers but we know other ages, young and old, will want to use it. That’s okay. We will be achieving something special. It’s good to think that lots of people will benefit from it and also the teenage image will be improved.
“It will be free! Everything will be made here in our town and that will be good for the local economy.”