Usk’s new play park area was officially opened as part of Usk Town’s Pageant on 16th July.  Kay Peacock, who lives in Usk and does so much for local children including leading Usk Primary School’s Wales in Bloom winning ‘Gardening Gang’ and is a key member of the cricket club was cheered as she cut the ribbon and children poured excitedly into the park.  The new play area features exciting new equipment and picnic tables. Usk Park Project met its fundraising target, generating over £120k, through numerous events and the efforts of community groups, local businesses, generous individuals and organisations, which were complimented with a Big Lottery Fund grant of £100k which made the project possible.

Usk Park Project was set up by a group of Usk parents who came together three years ago to start raising funds to create a new play park for the children of Usk. Usk Park Project is a registered charity with an aim to provide a destination National Equipped Area of Play (NEAP) that is free, accessible, safe and welcoming for everyone to enjoy. The charity consulted extensively with the families of Usk, then worked with Monmouthshire County Council to design and build a new play area adjacent to the Millennium Hall and Centenary Hall in Usk. Monmouthshire County Council is supporting the group by providing the land, installing the equipment, administering the funding and taking responsibility for the asset and ongoing maintenance.

Naomi Horsley , Chair of Usk Park Project said “It’s so exciting to see our beautiful new play park open. It has been three years of hard work but to see their excited, smiling faces and the fun they are having has made it all so worthwhile.  This generation and the next will enjoy this amazing, fun, inclusive place where children can enjoy a magical, fun day out with their families. After three years of fundraising and planning this really is a massive achievement for everyone in the Usk community, Monmouthshire County Council and the Big Lottery who have all been involved. It is tremendous to see how our children’s designs about what their dream destination park would look like now transformed into a reality.”

Highlighting the importance of the People and Places programme, Rona Aldrich, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales.”

Cllr Bryan Jones, Cabinet Member for with responsibility for parks added “This is a fantastic example of how Monmouthshire communities work together to make it an even better place to live. This summer will be really special in Usk, I would encourage local families to come to the beautiful town to enjoy the park and pop into Usk’s lovely shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.”

Kay Peacock commented: “I was overwhelmed to be asked to open this wonderful park, a lot of hard work has gone into raising money. These children will really appreciate the park they have designed. The committee are an amazing group of parents, to have turned this area into a more inviting place to play in just three years – well done all.”