By Donna Semple, Big Lottery Fund Funding Officer
Bees Nees Early Years Centre in Newtownards held the official opening for their outdoor play area on 30 August 2012.
The group were awarded funding of £10,000 in May 2012 from our Awards For All programme to create an outdoor playground which included a roofing structure and play equipment/structures including castle tower and keep.
I arrived at the venue on what was a rare, sunny day to see the finished project, join in the celebrations and watch the local mayor cut the ribbon to officially open the playground.
The mayor and the manager of the centre made speeches about the difference the play area will make to the children. Even more evident since the area has a roof and our lovely Irish weather will not dampen the children’s enthusiasm for play.
Once the formalities were over it was time for the children (and some staff!) to have a go at using the equipment including a slide. I declined to participate – still have scars from falling twenty (or so) years ago, when I tried to climb up the slide, rather than come down it!
So I left, following a cup of tea and a discussion with the manager about what else she could get funding for from Awards for All.
She has lots of ideas, including making use of the first floor, which is currently used for storage, and transforming it into an ICT suite for older children.
It was obvious how inspiring the Awards for All programme is and what a difference we can make with such a small amount of funding!