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The Spinney Play Centre in Peterborough.

Through the power of social media, BBCs TV series ‘DIY SOS Big Build team’ tweeted SureSet for their contribution to help create a safe, fun and educational outdoor space for the re-opening of The Spinney Play Centre in Peterborough.

The centre was closed early this year due to the local authority’s bid to make a £17million cut from the budget. The centre was somewhere children could have fun in a safe and fully enclosed environment. Since the closure Little Miracles Charity who formally used the centre to run sessions for children with disabilities have been busy bidding to get the centre re opened. All of their hard work paid off when Children In Need and DIY SOS came to their rescue.

The plan was to transform the centre with an entirely new centre, garden and playground with the added bonus of it being designed by TV Gardener Chris Beardshaw

The design was brought to life by volunteers and various tradesmen installing play equipment, building wooden and stone structures, installing resin bound pathways - this is all addition to the numerous other painters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and roofers all working in, out and around the main building. SureSet had installed 250m² of 6mm natural Barley Beach Resin Bound surfacing, the paths added a natural touch to the Centre and had been designed wide enough for all the children including wheelchair users to freely access each section within the garden. The aggregates were kindly donated by suppliers Long Rake Spar.

The founder of the Little Miracles group, Michelle King is so grateful for the whole project. The new Centre has given them more opportunities and they hope to start an outreach program so they can help families from the wider area of Peterborough.

The Children’s Centre is currently run by 62 volunteers and a handful of paid workers. Between them they currently help over 800 families! SureSet had the honour of meeting some of remarkable children and their dedicated support workers. Chloe, one of the Children’s Support Workers talked about the ‘old Centre’ and how difficult things were as it was small and run down. The ‘new’ Centre is much better…it is bigger, with specific rooms for sensory work and therapies such as counselling. She said “The kitchen has made a huge difference; we can now offer breakfast, lunch and dinner to all the children who use the Centre and it allows us to prepare food away from the children.”

Outside, has made the biggest difference to the Centre. The garden allows a safe and secure environment allowing more freedom for the children to play and explore individually or in groups. Peterborough is an urban area and there is a lack of secure outdoor spaces such as the one the new centre now provides, particularly the wheelchair users. The circular Resin Bound path sections within the woods is used as a ‘quiet area’, and the children respect this allowing whoever’s sat there to have time to themselves. This has been said to be something the Support Workers haven’t seen before and feel it is quite a unique aspect to the garden!

A young boy, who uses the Centre, has a disability which effects his breathing – he can need resuscitating over 20 times a day. Oliver aged 6 was aware of the new changes and our contribution of installing the pathways within the garden, during our visit Oliver kindly signed ‘thank you’ to Hugh Haines our Business Development Coordinator for SureSet, who felt truly blessed and amazed.

@MrNickKnowles Tweeted ‘To every one of the trades & suppliers who helped out on site and off site – thank u 4 your extraordinary generosity, good will & hard work!’

Chris Beardshaw comments ‘the effort, enthusiasm, energy and spirit of all those that volunteered themselves for DIY SOS Children In Need was truly humbling, Thank you all’