Dunboyne is set to see a fantastic redevelopment of the existing playground and skatepark which will see the space transformed into a focal point for the entire community. Currently the playground is limited in its drab offerings. There are limited seating options. Limited equipment. Limited planting. As a result of the lack of equipment in the playground, the skatepark is overrun with toddlers and small kids who enjoy sliding on the ramps. This is a source of frustration for the skaters who can’t use the skatepark as it was intended.
A group of volunteers banded together to create the Dunboyne Playspace Forum. Cllr Maria Murphy (Chairperson), Diana Higan (Secretary), Mag Coogan (Treasurer), Deirdre O’Caroll, Niamh Kellet and Philip Ardiff.
They began by distributing a survey to the Dunboyne community via schools and clubs. Almost 1,000 responses were gathered within a few weeks highlighting the momentum behind the redevelopment. An astounding 93% of respondents said that the existing facilities were inadequate for the growing population. The survey was crucial in identifying the gaps in provision and understanding what the community wanted. Respondents recognised that issues were not mutually exclusive. The lack of facilities put pressure on the existing infrastructure leading to disharmony in what is supposed to be a primary community hub.
As a result, the primary concerns identified included the need for safe, secure fencing around the car park, toddler specific play equipment, challenging climbing equipment for older children, social seating and interesting planting were identified. Teens wanted a space to simply “hang out”.
An application was successfully submitted to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for a grant of €100,000. This was supplemented by €30,000 funding from Meath Co. Co. The committee recognised that with the identified gaps in provision, combined with the current economic climate, that a robust fundraising drive was needed in order to bring their ambitious plans to fruition. The committee have set up a community GoFundMe for locals and a Corporate Sponsorship Campaign to attract the support of businesses. The generosity and support, particularly of local businesses, has led to the tendering of both the playground and skatepark in September. The tenders have closed and the successful applicant will be notified soon. When you shop local you support local businesses, who in turn support community initiatives. “The generosity of the local businesses has really kept the momentum going. From small preschooler settings, local shops and independent business owners to larger companies, people are still getting behind us. There is still a short timeframe for more businesses to take the opportunity to get on board.”
The brief for the tender process envisions the creation of an enhanced playspace that provides the vibrant Dunboyne community with an “inclusive playground and plaza style skatepark”, in an environmentally sustainable design, which complements the character of the park location. “We want to foster a culture of health, outdoor recreation and community amongst our young people in a beautiful, inclusive space that will cater for all children, regardless of ability, from toddlers to teens.” “The importance of play, particularly outdoor play, is so beneficial to children’s development,” according to reports from Growing Up in Ireland.
This is a community driven project: designed for the community, driven by the community and it will become a community hub where everyone, from toddlers to teens can forge friendships in a safe, welcoming space. The new project will be managed by Meath County Council in consultation with Dunboyne Playground Forum. The committee are optimistic that work will begin on the redevelopment before the end of the year. Donations continue to be welcome until the end of the year via both the GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/GofundmecomfDunboynePlayspaceForum or via the Corporate Sponsorship detailed below. Follow the Dunboyne Playspace Forum on Facebook for additional details on the project.