Northamptonshire village needs help to raise money for first ever playground and community area

The children of Rothersthorpe currently have nowhere to play and meet other children but village residents have been working tirelessly for years to change that.

By Megan Hillery
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 7:30 am

The small Northamptonshire village of Rothersthorpe has no playground or safe outdoor community space for children to play in.

This has been the case for some years. Children formerly used the playing field of Rothersthorpe Church of England Primary school until the field had to be secured outside of school hours for health and safety reasons.

Fast forward five years and Rothersthorpe now has a field, thanks to Jennifer and Philip Dickens, who gave a piece of their land to the village.

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The proposed plans for the new play area in Rothersthorpe.

Residents now want to transform this space into a haven for children to meet and play.

Jess Claringbold has lived in Rothersthorpe for eight years. She has two young children and is a huge advocate for the project, which she is donating all profits from her yoga classes to.

Jess said: “We need the area so that the children have somewhere to play and spend time with each other as there currently isn't anywhere for them to meet up and spend time with other children.

“From an adult and parents' point of view, we don't really have anywhere to meet other people in the village as we don't have a shop or anything. Being able to walk there and meet other people will help to build the community feeling.

Philip and Jennifer Dickens donated a piece of their land to Rothersthorpe for a new community space.

“Most people are pretty shocked when we say we don't have a park or playground as most new developments include these as standard.”

The field was initially not easy to get to. Children had to walk for one minute down a road that was unsafe. However, a path was built in February 2022, providing safe access to the field.

The next step is for West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) to approve plans for an enclosed play area by April 13.

Proposed plans include a play tractor, swings, three-way seesaw, springers, and a mound with a tunnel.

Trustee of the Dickens Field Trust charity, Jodie Johnson, 43, said: “There’s quite a lot of children in the village but I don’t think they get a chance to mix so they stay inside and go on their computers.

“I think a designated place they can go to where it is safe to meet other people would be fantastic, especially as we have some new families moving in.”

Approximately £9,600 has already been granted by WNC for the construction of safety fencing and gates that will go around the new play area.

The Dickens Field Trust has £42,000 to spend on equipment but this leaves the charity £15,000 short of being able to install the whole of the planned play area in one go.

Village volunteers are currently working on building a path from the field’s entrance to the play area.

Jodie added: “It is very exciting to be this close to having the first play space in our village ever. If all goes to plan, we may have it all set up for the summer holidays.”

The Dickens Field Trust has raised £799 of their £15,000 goal so far.

Find out more or make a donation by visiting the Dickens Field Trust’s Just Giving page or email [email protected]