How it came about
The idea for a new recreational area was first raised a few years ago by local builder Russell Kerry at one of the village’s annual meetings.
In 2003 every household and young person in the village was polled to see if they thought an area was needed and, if so, what they wanted to see on it. There was an enthusiastic response with more than 96% of the village saying that they wanted somewhere that youngsters could play on, a pleasant wildlife-friendly area for people to sit and somewhere for village events to be held.
Finding the right location for the play area and then raising the funds was a lot of work. Fortunately, the local farmers and major landowners supported the idea of creating a place for recreation and one of them came forward with an excellent site in the centre of the village. Getting the funding was difficult because we needed to be very organised and involve lots of different government and voluntary organisations and fill in lots and lots of forms. It took a long time but in the end we succeeded.
The land was bought with money from the Countryside Agency’s Doorstep Greens scheme, which was supported by The Big Lottery Fund. The lottery grant of £53,000, along with a £15,000 grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Living Spaces project and contributions from the Parish Council, Suffolk County Council and individual donations allowed the 30 or so volunteers from the village to create and equip the Doorstep Green. The Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Mid Suffolk Council’s leisure and tree people provided invaluable advice and guidance.
The project brought people, young and old, together to create something we all wanted. We have learned an invaluable lesson, even though we are small community, we have been able to achieve a lot because we have all worked together. Redlingfield is the smallest community to have been awarded national lottery Doorstep Green funding, more than 1,200 villages and communities applied for the funding – only 200 were successful.
Looking back - I think if we could change one thing – we would have made it at least twice the size.