Take a seat thanks to the power of community 

The regular fitness group test out the newly repaired benches.

The regular fitness group test out the newly repaired benches. - Credit: TCDT

Thursday morning in Kitson Park. A group have just finished their regular ‘keeping active’ fitness session and two of them stroll along the path to rest on one of the benches under the trees.

They don’t seem too worried about taking a seat alongside a creepy crawly or two; in fact, they seem quite delighted. 

That’s because these larger-than-life bugs are actually unique illustrations, drawn by children from the local nursery and engraved onto the benches. 

The nursery’s director Harry Morton sees Kitson as a fundamental part of life at Peekaboo Childcare, with the children visiting weekly; so, when they heard about the project to repair the benches they couldn’t wait to get involved.  

“We teach the children how they are part of the Shiphay community and support them in learning about how to give back to their local community,” said Harry.  “This includes taking care of our green spaces - especially Kitson Park.”  

The Community Partnership for Shiphay and Higher Chelston was able to secure funding from the local Cooperative store and Torbay Community Grant to refurbish the benches, thanks to support from Groundwork South, SWISCo and community builder Sally Farrant. 

Local resident Simon Foster Taylor volunteered his time to do the work, weatherproofing the wood and removing old fittings, before fixing the new planks in place.

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Following a safety check by the park ranger, the new seating was ready for use. 

So, what’s next for Kitson? The answer is plenty. 

There are quite a few ideas on the community’s wish list for the park.

A couple of these are already in motion – the community partnership having secured money from the Community Ward Fund to purchase and install a ‘Friendship Bench’ and markers for a Sensory Trail ready and waiting to go up around the park – but there are more to add. 

Undoubtedly, top of the list is getting more people involved, thereby ensuring that Kitson Park continues to be a green space that helps bring the community together. 

To get involved with caring for Kitson Park and other Torbay Green Spaces please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk