Parents campaigning for a splash pad in Ely have presented their case to the City and District Councils in a bid to improve outdoor recreational facilities for families.
A Working Group is now being set up to explore the proposals in more detail.
A splash pad is an interactive outdoor water play park where children and young people can run through fountains, activate exciting features such as sprinklers, and build confidence in the water. Suitable for toddlers to teens, splash pads are designed with safety and environmental considerations in mind and maximise the value of existing outdoor recreational spaces. The nearest splash pad is in Newmarket, which means Ely families have to travel outside the area in order to access outdoor water play facilities.
Splash Pad for Ely, a small group of residents coordinated by Angela Haylock from the What’s Your Game Project, have now presented their extensive research to both City of Ely Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council. Earlier this year, the group gained over 2,000 signatures in a petition to support their campaign. At its meeting on September 7th, City of Ely Council agreed to set up a Working Group to consider the proposal for a new splash pad alongside other outdoor amenities and further explore the financial implications.
The steering group’s representative at the meeting, Ellie Senior, said: “A splash pad would be the perfect solution to fill the gap in outdoor play provision in the area. It would also draw consumers in to Ely and give the High Street a much-needed economic boost.
One of the biggest benefits to a splash pad is that accessibility is integral to the design, giving people with a range of (dis)abilities equal access to a fun, mood boosting, family friendly leisure activity. Now more than ever, we need young people to have access to outdoor leisure activities which will promote physical and mental wellbeing.”
The group’s Tracy Corley added: “We are grateful to both Councils for giving us time to present our case and we are pleased that they have agreed to explore the proposal.”
A statement from Ely City Council said: “At their recent Full Council meeting, the City of Ely Council agreed to form a Working Group to look at the requests it has received for additional recreational facilities within Ely for a splash pad, a skatepark and a BMX track. The Council feels there is a need for extra facilities for the youth of Ely and want to work with the groups requesting these. We look forward to meeting representatives from these groups and discussing how the Council can help achieve such facilities.”
Do you know anyone who would like a splash pad for Ely? Residents are invited to support the campaign via the group’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/splashpadforely/
Comments so far include:
“It would be great to have a fun outdoor facility that we could walk to within the city. It also fills a real gap in the current leisure facilities given there is no longer a graduated pool in the city, allowing little ones to gain water confidence. At the same time it would also permit all ages to have fun together.”
“As grandparents we only feel confident to take one child to the swimming pool at any one time (and it involves us getting changed!). A splash pad would provide a safe environment to take our grandchildren, of different ages, to enjoy water fun in the open air.”
“My son loves the water but is not a confident swimmer. A splash pad gives him the best of both worlds. It’s a great social place to meet friends and family. If there was a cafe or ice-cream stand I’m sure it would make a killing on the days the splash pad was operating!”
“My water obsessed son who has non-verbal ASD would absolutely love it. It would give him all the sensory input that he craves and be a brilliant way to fill a weekend. My youngest son has developed a bit of a water phobia over lockdown but I think he would love to join in with splash pad fun and hopefully give him some more confidence.”
“We all love the water in our family and playing on a splash pad is the ultimate playtime. For me as well as the kids! Having one in Ely would mean we don’t have to travel to Cambridge. Depending on where it ends up being built, we might even be able to cycle there. Double exercise!”
Sarah van Rongen
“It would mean we could stay local as a family, less travel (environment points) and also most likely spend [money] in local shops, not to mention the benefits to kids being outside enjoying the fresh air and getting exercise.”
“Outside, exercise that is fun. What is not to like?!”
Press release from Splash Pad for Ely Campaign