Working for Wye - past, present and future

Children's Playing Field Charity

The Children's Playing Field Charity land, off Bridge Street, Wye, with Luckley House in the distance

The Children's Playing Field Charity land, off Bridge Street, Wye

The Wye Children's Playing Field Charity (registered charity no. 302898) owns land and funds projects and activities for:

'The provision and maintenance, including support by means of grants or loans, for recreational or leisure facilities and services for children and young people aged up to and including eighteen years old, in the parish of Wye with Hinxhill in Kent'. Charitable Objects (redefined 17th March 2010)

Where we come from - our history

The Children's Playing Field Charity owns the half of the playing field adjacent to the Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School, Wye. The Sawbridge Earle-Drax family, formerly of Olantigh Towers once owned much of Wye. In 1928 the family and transferred ownership of an area of land to Wye Parish Council, to hold in trust as sole trustee for charitable purposes.

In accepting this gift the Parish Council agreed that the land owned by the charity should 'at all times hereafter be used as a recreation ground for the children of the Thornhill School and other children of school age in the Parish of Wye, without distinction and for no other purpose'. The charity land is bounded by Luckley House to the east and by the road leading to the waste water treatment works on the west. The southern half of the school playing field is owned by Kent County Council (KCC).

The Jungle zip wire on Launch Day, being tested by Lucy Huntington, who designed The Jungle, and many excited children

The Jungle zip wire on Launch Day, being tested by Lucy Huntington, who designed The Jungle and its setting, helped by excited children

The charity now has an annual income, in the form of rent for a car park. Kent County Council (KCC) built the car park on the charity's land, without the charity's permission, to provide parking for staff at the primary school. Nor did KCC obtain planning permission for change of use. After a lengthy legal challenge from the Parish Council, KCC finally agreed to sign an 18-year lease for the car park and pay rent for this land. KCC also agreed to make a backdated lump sum payment in compensation to the charity for the loss of the charity's land for recreational purposes. The rental income now funds play equipment and other projects for the benefit of children.

The Charity Commission has confirmed that any income the charity receives must be applied towards the purposes of the charity. Essentially, for the benefit of children who attend schools in the parish of Wye with Hinxhill and other children of school age who live in the parish. The list of charity-funded projects below shows how the Parish Council acting as trustee meets its obligations.

This charity is governed by a conveyance dating from 1928, and by a revised Scheme issued by the Charity Commission in 2010.

In January 1993 volunteers from the PTA, children and Wye College students planted a mix of native trees and shrubs along the west boundary. These trees have grown into a semi-mature spinney which forms the setting for 'The Jungle' natural play area.

The unusual decision to locate play equipment under the tree canopy was deliberate. This location makes use of scarce parish-owned land and enables children to play in the dappled shade in the summer. The spinney encourages children to make dens and experience the sights and sounds of nature all year round and yes, enjoy getting their hands and knees a bit dirty sometimes.

Wye residents pitch in to move three lorry loads of wood chips under the wire and other play equipment in The Jungle natural play area

Wye community in action: over 70 residents pitched in to barrow three lorry loads of wood chips to form the safety surface under the new zip wire and other play equipment in The Jungle natural play area

Who we are

Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council is the sole trustee of the charity. This means that the charity's land is vested in (owned by) the Parish Council as a corporate body created by statute, and the Parish Council is responsible for managing the affairs of the charity. However, as the charity is constituted as a separate entity from the Parish Council, with a management committee governed by charity law.

For some eighty years the primary school managed the land as part of its school playing field and the charity land generated no income or outgoings. That all changed in 2010 when the charity secured a regular income from KCC. The Parish Council appoints a management committee to act on its behalf . The committee has a duty to oversee the safe investment of its funds, the production of annual accounts, and make grants strictly in line with the objects of the charity, as required by law.

What we do

The charity has limited funds available to further its charitable objects, but organisations may apply for a grant if they provide 'recreational or leisure facilities and services for children and young people aged up to and including eighteen years old, in the parish of Wye with Hinxhill in Kent'

The charity will consider applications from qualifying organisations to purchase or maintain equipment used by children; particularly if the organisation does not have a membership subscription. The charity can make small grants of between £100 and £1,000 to help with equipment purchases and initiate projects. The charity particularly welcomes applications to support the training of youth leaders or sports coaches who are under 18 years old. The aim is that, once trained, these young people will help to lead sport and recreational activities, and pass on their skills to younger children.

What we have done - so far

Young people burning energy playing five-a-side on Wye MUGA. The floodlights cut-off automatically at 22.00.

Young people burning energy playing five-a-side on Wye MUGA. The floodlights cut-off automatically at 22.00.

2022 (to date) £5,000 to the Hubble Fund for the annual play equipment safety inspection and repairs and improvements to all play facilities. A £200 grant for youth development.

2021 £2,500 to the Hubble Fund towards the additional cost of COVID-19 safety measures in the play areas and play equipment safety inspection, and for deep cleaning, resurfacing and re-lining the MUGA while closed and electrical work. A separate grant for £1,064.98 provided Wye Under Fives for educational outdoor play equipment suitable for early years children.

2020 - £7,500 match funding to complete Phase 2 of the Wye Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) project and upgrade the floodlights. (The public engagement events and pre-design consultation process for these new facilities remains on hold because of COVID-19 risks).

2019 - £10,000 match funding towards the refurbishment of the Reece Pavilion as a small, self-contained community room with its own kitchen, accessible WC, TV and WiFi, with views and direct access to the recreation ground and outdoor play equipment. This informal space is very flexible. As it is self-contained and easy to supervise it is ideal for use by organisations that work with children and young people.

2018 - £3,290 for a mower and line marker for Lady Joanna Thornhill School to maintain the playing field and junior football pitches.

2017 - £10,000 for a new parent and child facility in the Large Hall - Wye Centre Project.

2016 – £20,000 landscaping a new children's garden and secure play areas, with access from both village halls.

2015 – £600 to provide a gala marquee for the 2nd Wye Scouts Cubs and Wye 2nd Beavers.

2014 - £2,000 for youth sports development and training facilities at Wye Cricket Club (Horton Meadow).

2014 – £27,000 match funding for a Sport England grant for the construction of a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) (images left and above).

2013 – CPFC hosted a Children's Fayre and granted funds to set up Wye Beavers, a licence for Wye Youth Cinema Club, a children's art event at the Wye Food Fayre, the Benefice Youth Group to Go Ape at Leeds Castle, and a football goal for the Recreation Ground.

2011 - £7,000 The Children's Playing Field Charity made its first grant as match funding for 'The Jungle' Adventure Play Trail. This natural play area provides a range of challenges for a wide age group and it includes accessible play equipment. The Jungle was the charity's first investment in play facilities. In order to qualify for DCMS PlayBuilder funding, the project design had to meet the Ten Design Principles. The Parish Council's Hubble Fund also made a substantial contribution. However in August 2010 the incoming government halved the agreed funding commitment for the project. The Parish Council was forced to scale back the project design to keep within its reduced budget

Residents gathered to celebrate launch day of the much improved facilities at Wye Village Hall

Improved facilities at Wye Village Hall supports a wide range of groups and activities for children and young people, including the Wye Under Fives Pre-School, the 2nd Wye Beaver, Cub and Scout packs, and after school clubs.

Cllr Ovenden repairs a broken swing

Cllr Ovenden repairs a broken swing

The Hubble Fund

In addition to funding the new projects listed above, the charity makes from time to time to the Hubble Fund. This is a ring-fenced sum held by the Parish Council, exclusively for the benefit of children and young people. The purpose of the Hubble Fund mirrors the objects of the Children's Playing Field Charity. This back-to-back structure is deliberate as it ensures that any charity funds granted to the Parish Council are spent appropriately. For example, the Hubble Fund covers the costs of safety inspections and the routine maintenance of the play areas, play equipment and fencing. Where possible the Parish Council either uses local contractors. Or to save money councillors do some of the non-specialist work themselves as volunteers (see image). Direct access to the Hubble Fund enables the Parish Council to respond quickly for example, whenever the play equipment needs repairing for safety reasons.

Surprisingly, there is no law to say that any form of inspection must be carried out on children's playgrounds and MUGAs. However, British Standard EN 1176 recommends that routine, operational should be carried out throughout the course of each year. The Parish Council follows this guidance, and organises daily site checks and an annual formal inspection from an RPII qualified inspector.

Safety inspections

The Parish Council employs professional RPII inspectors, who are qualified to an Annual Level standard by the Register of Play Inspectors International. The annual safety inspection report provides a prioritised 'to do' list of necessary works and improvements. This essential maintenance work is part funded by a bequest established as the Hubble Fund, in memory of the late Peter Hubble, a former vice-chair of the Parish Council. This legacy commemorates his child development work with the Kent Education Business Partnership. The Parish Council also manages the routine cleaning and checks for wear and tear faults, and damage.

Good practice guidance

Design for Play outlines ten design principles at the core of its fresh, design-led approach to commissioning play areas. These principles are encapsulated in one 'golden rule':

'A successful play space is a place in its own right, specially designed for its location. Designers should take a holistic perspective on designing for play. Play opportunities should be embedded in the site as a whole.' Play England

Design for Play explains how good play spaces can give children and young people the freedom to play creatively, while allowing them to experience risk, challenge and excitement. There is also advice on how play spaces can be affordably maintained. A open access play place where children can just be children. They choose how, with what, with whom and for how long they play. Children learn for themselves how to deal with challenges and risks and build the resilience they need to cope with life's challenges.

Children exploring the new climbing frame in The Jungle 'natural play' area

The Jungle: provides 'natural play' including climbing frames which allow children to follow their natural instinct to scramble, crawl and climb. Climbing improves balance, coordination, motor skills and increases fitness levels and the ability to judge risks.

What is play?

Play is an essential part of every child's life and is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives, playing and friends is usually at the top of the list.

Accessible Play Spaces

'Developing Accessible Play Spaces – A good practice guide' states that:
"All children do not need to access play spaces in the same way but they are fundamentally entitled to go out to play. Good design of public play spaces is needed in order to make this possible. Each child is different – not every piece of equipment in a play space needs to be accessible to every child but access to the social experience of play is key."

Developing Accessible Play Spaces – A good practice guide (2003) ODPM

Types of play

Children engage in many different types of play and it is a crucial component in their development. However, when children play they don't decide first what type of play they will engage with - they just play. This can involve two or more different types of play at the same time. Click on the blue bar above for a summary of sixteen types of play.

Did you know?

Children's right to play is a human right

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted a General Comment in 2013 that clarifies for governments worldwide the meaning and importance of Article 31 of the UNICEF Convention on the Right of the Child.

Contact us

Information sign in the K6 former telephone box in Bridge Street Wye

Children’s Playing Field Charity

For all inquiries regarding the Children's Playing Field Charity, please contact the Correspondent c/o the Parish Council

c/o Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council,
2B Briar Close,
Bramble Lane,
Wye, Kent TN25 5HB
01233 812459

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Last updated: Tue, 28 Jun 2022 18:55