Vyner Park is a beautiful public space in the centre of the village of Swarland , Northumberland. The park was originally built as a recreational space for a group of families brought from Gateshead and Jarrow in the 1930’s, by Captain Clare Vyner, to escape the poverty and lack of opportunities. The village has grown and now has approximately six hundred residents. The park continues to provides a community space where villagers can play tennis, football, bowls, enjoy the children’s play area or take their dog for a walk. There is a lack of public transport making it difficult for children and adults to access any other sporting amenities with the nearest being over five miles away, making this area even more special.
The Vyner Park charity was set up in August 2015 with the aim of providing recreational and leisure facilities, for local people and the public at large, to improve lives and in the interests of social welfare.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we make no charge for the use of any of the public facilities within Vyner Park so as not to discriminate against those who may face financial hardship. Since the opening of a not for profit social enterprise café the park has become the heart to the community, with more people than ever using amenities.
Assets inherited by the charity include a tennis court and a multi use games area (MUGA) which were both laid in 2003. Since that time they have had a great deal of use. Regular tennis coaching sessions are run weekly during school term time and ‘tennis’ camps run throughout the school holidays. The MUGA is used by local teenagers, giving them somewhere safe to expend their energy. Both playing services are now very worn and are becoming a hazard. Without professional intervention the tennis courts will be unusable by the summer of 2019.
Our aim is to redevelop the tennis court and MUGA to create a space for all generations to use for physical activities and social interaction bringing the community together whilst improving health and general well being. Studies show that being out in the fresh air surrounded by greenery is beneficial to the mind and soul and what better place for the people of Swarland and beyond to enjoy this than Vyner Park.
With safer courts we aim to build on our current tennis coaching sessions, which are open for children of all ages and to encourage other local groups such as a local junior football club to use the facilities. There is interest from members of the community to start a Walking football team too, however at the present time the MUGA is considered to be inadequate. We plan to involve the local Primary school and explore how they can benefit from our services. The success of our project would be measured by the increased use of the courts and MUGA. The number of attending the coaching sessions is documented and the school would be able to show us when they used the facilities. Depending on our success we would consider setting up an electronic booking system on our website which would show numbers attending.
We currently have approximately £2000 saved towards our redevelopment plans but there is a significant shortfall. We are in the process of organising further community fundraising events and hope to raise a further £4000.
We have been quoted £20,000 to relay the tennis courts, seal the surface and paint the lines, with an additional £11,000 if we were to complete the work on the MUGA at the same time.
We are the custodians of Captain Vyners vision and want to develop it to meet modern standards.