My community wants a new playground

Michael Johnsen with Gloucester Public School P&C committee members, principal Leanne Wakefield and the school captains. Photo supplied
Michael Johnsen with Gloucester Public School P&C committee members, principal Leanne Wakefield and the school captains. Photo supplied

It's one thing to have an active parents and citizens (P&C) committee, but add to that with a supportive community and projects happen.

Gloucester Public School P&C committee put its hat in the ring for a $100,000 grant to build a new playground through NSW Government grant scheme, My Community Project and it has been successful. The scheme was all about local ideas, local projects and local decisions, putting the decision making into the hands of the voters.

When the call was put out for the community to submit project ideas, P&C president Sally Maslen thought it might be just the grant opportunity they'd been looking for.

The committee had been talking about the state of the school's infant playground for the past few years, but knew the cost was going to be high, something a little out of reach for their community fundraising. But My Community Project offered a chance.

So, they put together the application and tried to get the word out to the community to vote for the project.

The whole scheme was designed around giving the decision-making power back to the community. The only catch was, they would be up against all the projects across the Upper Hunter electorate.

The P&C will be replacing the old infant's playground which is in dire need of updating for a more safe and modern play option for the students. Photo Anne Keen

The P&C will be replacing the old infant's playground which is in dire need of updating for a more safe and modern play option for the students. Photo Anne Keen

When the announcement came on Thursday, September 5, the committee was overwhelmed.

Their plan to replace the ageing playground with a modern and fully inclusive facility was finally going to happen, all thanks to the power of the people.

Out of the 28 projects across the electorate, the P&C received the second highest number of votes at 981, not far off Dungog's James Theatre project with 989 votes.

Now it's time to get the plan in action, with the P&C hopeful it will be able to get the works completed during the January holidays ready for the start of the 2020 school year.

Only the top three projects in the electorate were successful. Along with GPS P&C's $100,00, was the James Theatre in Dungog for $50,000 to improve the facilities in the theatre and Amaroo Park in Scone for $121,220 for a spray pad for children to play in the park.

Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen congratulated all the project winners.

"My Community Project captured the imagination of our Upper Hunter Electorate community with people putting a lot of work into their ideas and it was great to see people get behind the projects that matter to them," Mr Johnsen said.

"These projects came from the community and were voted on by our communities and I now look forward to seeing applicants and sponsors getting on with the job of rolling out these projects and the benefits they will provide to those local communities."