An exciting new project, spearheaded by local residents, is gaining momentum in Ely; a ‘Splash Pad’.
Featuring interactive sprinklers, fountains, water jets and much more a Splash Pad is a playground for water play.
Typically zoned into three areas, a Splash Pad caters from babes-in-arms up to thrill-seeking teens making it the perfect active family day out. The interactive water features encourage physical activity and promote water confidence, the more they explore, the wetter you get! With plans for the Splash Pad to be constructed all on one level, it is also fully accessible to young people with a range of disabilities and provides a stimulating sensory experience.
As Splash Pads become an increasingly popular leisure time activity, many residents of Ely are currently travelling to Newmarket and Cambridge to access this water fun, adding to unnecessary traffic and taking consumers away from local businesses.
In July 2019, an article created by Angela Haylock from the Ely Volunteer Centre went on Facebook asking residents what activities they would like to see for children and families in Ely or Littleport. The response was a resounding “We want a Splash Pad!”
Three residents first engaged with Angela to begin planning how this idea could be moved forward.
Since then, they have met with the main manufacturer of this type of equipment and with a representative of Cambridge City Council in their quest to find out more details and the level of funding required.
As a group they have agreed that a grey water system, allowing the water to be recycled without need for chemicals, fits best with their environmental views. It would also mean that the Council would be able to water their splendid plants around the city for FREE!
The scheme will cost around £200,000 with approximately £2,000 per annum running costs which the group suggest could be paid for by inclusion of an on-site café.
The group have recently met with East Cambs District Council who showed some interest in the proposal and have agreed to carry out a small feasibility study on four potential sites which have been highlighted – these are High Barnes, Paradise Park, the old MOD play park and the Country Park. It was stressed, however, that this would take some months to undertake and that a source of funding for such a project is currently unclear.
It was following this that the group set up a Facebook page, ‘Splash Pad for Ely, Cambs’, to keep up the momentum and engage support from the wider community of individuals and businesses.
Angela Haylock from VCAEC said, “This idea is a great fit for the project that I am working on, as it gets children out of the house and away from their devices. The project, ‘What’s Your Game‘ , is funded for four years, working in partnership with Sanctuary Housing. The aim of which is to get children and their families more active in Ely and Littleport.” She went on to say “I have been amazed at the popularity of the project. Before I put that post on Facebook I had no idea what a Splash Pad was! I set up the ‘Splash Pad Ely, Cambs’ Facebook page on Tuesday 18th February and within 48 hours we had 1331 followers. It shows how much this is wanted in Ely.”
A Splash Pad for Ely represents a wide-reaching, low maintenance, environmentally conscious project that will encourage physical activity and water confidence in the fresh air free of charge for young people and will be a draw of visitors to the many independent businesses in our beautiful city. Show your support and share your views by joining our Facebook page; ‘Splash Pad for Ely, Cambs’.
Press release from Angela Haylock – Community Facilitator for What’s Your Game