Children's Playing Field Charity
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 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. 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 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.
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, it is governed under 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 source of income. The Parish Council acting as trustee now 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 under the floodlights
2021 (to date) - £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 £1,064.98 for Wye Under Fives for early years outdoor play equipment.
2020 - £7,500 match funding to complete Phase 2 of the Wye Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) project. (The public engagement events and pre-design consultation process remains on hold because of COVID-19 risks).
2019 - £10,000 match funding towards the refurbishment of the Reece Pavilion as a self-contained community room with its own kitchen, accessible WC and WiFi, with views and direct access to the recreation ground and outdoor play equipment. This informal and flexible space is ideal for use by youth groups, and 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 accessed 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 project and the design meets the Ten Design Principles.
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.
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 for the benefit of children and young people, held within the Parish Council's main account. 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 all 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). The Hubble Fund enables the Parish Council to respond quickly 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, BS 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 inspection from an RPII qualified inspector every autumn.
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.
Good practice guidance
Design for Play: Ten Design principles
'Much public play space currently relies primarily on the design and installation of manufactured play equipment. Much of this is high quality in terms of play value, but a lot of it is not and seems to be based on a narrow view of how children play.' Design for Play
Successful play spaces:
1. are 'bespoke'
2. are well located
3. make use of natural elements
4. provide a wide range of play experiences
5. are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children
6. meet community needs
7. allow children of different ages to play together
8. build in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
9. are sustainable and appropriately maintained
10. allow for change and evolution
The 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 (2008) Download Design for Play here
Design for Play
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.
What is play?
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.
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.
How do we define what 'playing' actually means?
Play England's Charter for Children's Play describes play as: 'what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons.'
Play has also frequently been described as 'what children and young people do when they are not being told what to do by adults'.
Having time and space to play gives children the opportunity to meet and socialise with their friends, keeps them physically active, and gives the freedom to choose what they want to do.
Research shows that play has many benefits for children, families and the wider community, as well as improving health and quality of life. Recent research suggests that children's access to good play provision can:
- increase their self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-respect
- improve and maintain their physical and mental health
- give them the opportunity to mix with other children
- allow them to increase their confidence through developing new skills
- promote their imagination, independence and creativity
- offer opportunities for children of all abilities and backgrounds to play together
- provide opportunities for developing social skills and learning
- build resilience through risk taking and challenge, problem solving, and dealing with new and novel situations
- provide opportunities to learn about their environment and the wider community.
Evidence of the wider benefits of play provision for families and communities, suggests that:
- parents can feel more secure knowing that their children are happy, safe and enjoying themselves
- families benefit from healthier, happier children
- buildings and facilities used by play services are frequently seen as a focal point for communities
- it offers opportunities for social interaction for the wider community and supports the development of a greater sense of community spirit, promoting social cohesion
- public outside spaces have an important role in the everyday lives of children and young people, especially as a place for meeting friends
- parks and other green spaces are popular with adults taking young children out to play and for older children and young people to spend time together.
Extract from Play England Why Play is Important
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,
Wye, Kent TN25 5HB
- 01233 812459
Did you know?
Children's right to play is a human right
On 1st February 2013 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted a General Comment that clarifies for governments worldwide the meaning and importance of Article 31 of the Convention on the Right of the Child.