Swinging into action with POPCAN

Swings were repainted and a ‘wobbly path’ resurfaced in Penleigh Recreation Park, Westbury recently, as part of a ‘week of action’ from local residents, suppliers and contractors.

The walkway – connecting Hackney Way with Queens Road - was not a formal right of way and had gradually fallen into disrepair. Over the past two years community group Penleigh & Oldfield Park Community Action Network (POPCAN) campaigned to get the uneven footpath resurfaced. The group secured £5,000 of funding last year from the Westbury Community Area Board, but it wasn’t enough to have the works carried out.

But at a recent POPCAN meeting, Cllr Sheila Kimmins offered to make contact with local resurfacing company, Valletta Surfacing Ltd, who agreed to donate the labour and provide materials at cost so the work could be completed within budget. And Sovereign turned to contractors within their supply chain to see whether they could help too, with their painting contractor, Novus and Westbury Town Council’s Landscaping contractor, ID Verde joining staff and volunteers to spruce up the area.

Cllr Gordon King, Chair of Westbury Community Area Board said: "We were delighted to be able to award the funds to enable POPCAN and others to restore the footpath and make it safe for people using the park. This project is a perfect example of how collaborative working between organisations - in this case Wiltshire Council, Westbury Town Council and POPCAN - can achieve brilliant outcomes for our communities."

POPCAN member, Tina Devereux said: “Having informal POPCAN meetings with councillors and other local partners gives us space as local residents to chat with them about the ideas we have for our community - on our terms. We’ve forged such strong links with our neighbours and have a great relationship with Westbury Town Council, Sovereign Housing, Westbury CE Junior School and Wiltshire Council, who all support us to move ahead with our ideas.”

Mayor of Westbury, Cllr Mike Sutton, said: “The town is very grateful to POPCAN and all the others involved in having the interest and dedication to restore and improve the footpath. We’re also extremely grateful to Valletta Surfacing Ltd and our colleagues on the Area Board for providing the necessary funds. This project supports Westbury Town Council in its intent to upgrade and repair other play areas, where necessary to the benefit of the local communities.”

POPCAN also works closely with a local younger residents’ group, Team10, to ensure young people can have their say about the area too. In the coming months, both groups will be working with Westbury Town Council to seek the community’s views on replacing an item of play equipment in Penleigh Play Park.

If you’re a resident living in the Penleigh and Oldfield Park area and would like to get involved with POPCAN, please contact 07920 206246 or visit www.fb.com/SovereignWestburyTeam