‘Fun For All!’ accessible play park to come to Godshill

By Press Release May 16, 2024

The parents around the Island, especially those with additional needs, are celebrating after funding was finally secured for The Godshill Play Park Project, a project founded 8.5 years ago by chiropractor and Godshill resident Nikki Collinson-Phenix.

It was a conversation back in 2015, that Nikki had had with one of her patients which had been the catalyst for the project. A heartbreaking conversation with a mum who had mentioned during her appointment how challenging she found going to a
playground with her children where one was in a wheelchair. Her wheelchair bound child always had to sit on the sidelines to watch their siblings having fun because none of the equipment was wheelchair accessible.

The conversation stayed with Nikki and two weeks later she mentioned it to the chair of Godshill Parish Council Alison Childs and asked whether there were plans to upgrade the outdated Godshill play equipment to make it more accessible. Alison advised that there were no plans. Fuelled by a stubborn determination, and as a mum herself, Nikki declared that she would take on the project, and that day The Godshill Play Park Project with its mantra ‘Fun For ALL!’ was launched.

As of today most of the Island’s play spaces are only accessible by able-bodied children and yet the Island has a high number of children with disabilities.

With an extremely promising National Lottery Community Fund bid, things looked very hopeful.

Nikki said: “From the outset, the National Lottery were extremely supportive and positive of the project. They visited the proposed site at Central Mead, loved the plans, and were 100 per cent behind it. Gaining the planning permission however took a lot longer than anticipated to secure and when we finally got permission we were deep into Covid. The price of all the materials and play equipment had suddenly doubled and our lottery bid needed to increase or our project needed to get smaller.

“They wouldn’t allow us to increase the bid, so we revised the project to make it just as inclusive but smaller. Then suddenly in 2022 whilst in deep discussions with the lottery on securing the final funding, they suddenly pulled the plug on our bid. They announced they were now focusing solely on post covid recovery projects and shutting down any other bids that were not covid related.

“Today however, the small but mighty fundraising team behind The Godshill Play Park Project, including Fran Shelly, Emma Bravery and Tammy Hall, along with Godshill Parish Council are celebrating securing the remaining funding for the play park from some incredible donors who wish to remain anonymous but who released this statement: ‘We were so excited to read about the play park project and simultaneously devastated when we had heard it had lost funding. We really wanted to be able to help and to see this much valuable resource built for the village and the wider community.’

“To say we are so grateful is an understatement and just doesn’t come close to what this means to us. It may have taken eight and a half years from that first conversation and the launch of the project, but finally that play park is going to be built and I could not be more grateful to everyone who has supported this project, but of course especially to these unbelievable donors. Your kindness blows my mind!”

Work to build the new Godshill Play Park is due to begin shortly.