Troopers Hill Field - Play Area
>>>> £80,000 project constructed September & October 2016 <<<<
The play Area is now OPEN after being closed due to Covid-19
There is a play are suitable for children of all ages on Troopers Hill Field at the top of the Hill. The play area was constructed due to the work of Friends of Troopers Hill in raising the funds and working with Bristol City Council to agree the design.
Play Area Opened October 2016
The official celebration event was held on Troopers Hill Field on Saturday 22nd October, including a procession from Troopers Hill Chimney led by Avon Glen Pipes and Drums.
The play area was constructed over a four week period during September & October 2016, see progress photos below. This followed a long process of consultation and fundraising by Friends of Troopers Hill and a small group of parents with the support of Bristol Parks. The final design is shown above.
The play area was designed and installed by Wicksteed Playgrounds with the work being managed by Bristol Parks.
The other play equipment on the Field - the popular red slide dating from the 1980s and the log climbing spiral (installed in 2009) were left in place on the Field, though both were nearing the end of their life span. The log structure had to be removed in 2017 and the red slide in November 2019. The 5-aside goalposts will stay (the old ones that rusted through have been replaced).
Some minor changes to the design were agreed as work progressed, so that the final layout is not exactly as the drawing. The two 'springers' shown in the fenced area have been replaced by a larger single one for up to 4 children that can be used in a similar way to a see-saw.
Once all the equipment was in place and completed, a series of inspections had to take place, by the Council and by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) before we could allow people to use it. This was to check that all the equipment was properly installed and safe to use; these inspections were carried out on the 5th & 6th of October and we were pleased that everything was approved.
Timeline for Construction
✔ Consultations, design, fundraising - Jan 2015 - Mar 2016
✔ Meetings with Bristol City Council Project
Manager & Play officer - Feb/Mar 2016
✔ Tender process - Mar-May 2016
✔ Review tenders - May/June 2016
✔ Appoint suppliers / contractors - June 2016
✔ Pre-construction planning - July/August 2016
✔ Play area construction - September & October 2016
✔ Safety inspections & final sign-off - October 2016
✔ Official opening & celebration event - October 2016
✔ Sign-off final costs, complete reports for funders
- October/November 2016
Report in the Week In Issue 435 - 11 Aug 16 >>
Report in the Week In Issue 445 - 20 Oct 16 >>
Report in the Week In Issue 447 - 03 Nov 16 >>
Interview with Chair of Friends of Troopers Hill, Susan Acton-Campbell on Radio Bristol
Play area celebration radio interview part 1 >>
Play area celebration radio interview part 2 >>
Avon & Somerset Police - Celebrating the new play park >>
You can keep up to date with this and other news from Troopers Hill on these webpages and through Facebook & Twitter or sign up for our newsletters.
Week 1 - Wednesday 14th September 2016
Week 2 - Wednesday 21st September 2016
Week 3 - Wednesday 28th September 2016
Week 4 - Wednesday 5th October 2016
Final touches Tuesday 19th October 2016
Funding the Play Area
We were really pleased to receive news from Suez Communities Trust (at the time known as SITA Trust) in January 2016 that we had been successful in obtaining funding for the £50,000 first phase of a new play area on Troopers Hill Field - a fenced under 5s play area and access path.
There was even more good news in March when we heard that we had also been successful in our second grant application to Veolia Environmental Trust. This is for the phase 2 works to construct a £25,000 activity trail for slightly older children.
Being successful in both applications meant that the two phases could be constructed at the same time. Taken together and including some additional costs that will be covered by the the money allocated by the Neighbourhood Partnership this means an investment of over £80,000 for play on Troopers Hill Field.
News of these awards was something we had been working towards since early in 2015 when Chris (a local dad) started the process to have an improved play area installed on the Field. He approached Friends of Troopers Hill with his ideas and we worked with him and a small group of parents and carers to move things forward.
'Match funding' from the St George Neighbourhood Partnership enabled us to apply for these grants. The Partnership has also awarded us a wellbeing grant of £310 to fund an opening event for the new play area to publicise what the NP can do to help community groups to achieve their aims and explain how this project succeeded.
Having secured the necessary funds we worked with Bristol City Council's Project Manager to get construction started. Tenders were requested and reviewed. We were very pleased with the standard of the proposals received and in early July we were able to confirm that our supplier would be Wicksteed Playgrounds. Their design was the best fit with the results of the consultation we carried out in 2015.
Phase 1 Award January 2016
At the same time as their award to Friends of Troopers Hill, Suez Communities Trust also awarded a grant for the play area at Dundridge Park. This good news created a lot of publicity locally.
The award of the grant was also reported on BBC Radio Bristol and in the Bristol Post.
Press Release about the Phase 1 Award >>
"The level of community engagement that had taken place in the
lead up to the project proposal was exceptional and it is a great demonstration of how communities
can really get involved in their local area."
- Marianne Ivin
Suez Communities Trust (formerly SITA Trust).
Phase 2 Award March 2016
Troopers Hill was one of two projects in Bristol to receive a grant award from Veolia Environmental Trust in March 2016. Bristol Zoological Society also received funding to continue the Avon Invasive Weeds Forum's work in the Frome Valley. It will focus on a stretch of the Frome running near UWE Bristol and Blackberry Hill Hospital.
Press Release about the Phase 2 Grant Award >>
"these two organisations need to be congratulated on securing their grants in an extremely competitive environment"
- Paul Taylor
Veolia Environmental Trust.
Earlier Consultation and Improvements for Play
Work was completed on some limited new play facilities on Troopers Hill Field in December 2009.
In 2008 Bristol Parks won £2.65m from the governmentís Play Pathfinder programme to improve childrenís play spaces in Bristolís parks, particularly for children aged 8 - 13 years. Friends of Troopers Hill were delighted to learn that Troopers Hill Field was to be included in the sites for the second year of the project, though only £10,000 was available. A series of consultation events were organised during the summer with the help of Friends of Troopers Hill. The summaries of the feedback from the consultation can be seen here:
Adults' Feedback - Children's Feedback
Following the consultation it was agreed that a log climbing structures and 5-aside goalposts should be installed. Work to construct the new play area started on 5 October 2009 and was officially opened on 5th December.
Prior to this Friends of Troopers Hill had sought to get a play area installed in 2005. A survey we carried out showed that the Play Area was the aspect of Troopers Hill Field that most people wanted to see improved. The current play area then consisted of a frame for swings - with no swings - and a slide; by Feb 2009 there was only the slide! There is no fencing to keep out dogs. Many people also suggested that the play area should be relocated. Some wanted it removed altogether.
Friends of Troopers Hill organised a meeting on 28th July 2005 (notes of the meeting) followed by a meeting on Troopers Hill Field with Bristol Park's Play Officer to discuss the options. Unfortunately a later meeting to discuss the way forward had a very disappointing turn out. The situation was discussed at the Friends of Troopers Hill AGM in December 2005 and it was decided that as a group we would take no further action at that time although we were still keen to see the play area replaced.
1980s Play Area
This photograph was taken at the open day held to celebrate new paths and fencing being installed around Troopers Hill in 1991.
You can see on the left the base of the steps to the slide, which is the only piece of equipment from this time that survives.