Soft play centre plan for new Doncaster community hub

Phil Bedford and Stuart Bolton are hoping hoping Stainforth4All will be able to create a soft plan centre in the community
Phil Bedford and Stuart Bolton are hoping hoping Stainforth4All will be able to create a soft plan centre in the community
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Plans have been drawn-up to build a new public building in a Doncaster town  - complete with a major soft play area for children.

The scheme has been proposed by the organisation Stainforth4All, which runs Stainforth library, which has launched a public consultation to try to find out if it is what residents want.

If the public backs the scheme, officials will look to apply for grants to pay for some of the building costs, with a possible loan to complete the funding.

Stainforth4All was set up when Doncaster's libraries switched to community management, and already runs a number of projects in the former pit town which are funded by its own charity shop within the library building.

Manager Phil Bedford said two separate consultation exercises were under way, one a market research project into what sort of facility people would like them to develop; and the second into what people think are the issues that need addressing in Stainforth

The proposal would see the new building used half for community functions, potentially including advice and local services. The other half would be occupied by the soft play centre, which would be run as a commercial concern in an effort to ensure its quality and to make sure the scheme is sustainable in the long term.

He said: "We think this is a unique national idea. It would be a social enterprise which will also bring in inward investment. It may bring people in from Doncaster too, as well as areas like Thorne and Moorends.

"We are looking at creating a quality business which would be properly run with paid staff."

The proposed scheme would see people pay to use the centre. But it has been suggested that vouchers could be issued to parents in the village for free sessions on the proviso that they use some of the health services that may be provided at the building, such as health eating sessions or other parenting related advice.

It is hoped that this would be a way to help engage families with some of the local public health services and therefore help improve health in Stainforth, which is one of the most deprived areas in the country.

Healthy food would also be on sale at the site, but Mr Bedford accepts that would not be a big selling point to get people to come to the centre.

He said he thought it would be important to make sure an element of the soft plan centre had a 'wow' factor to attract visitors.

One proposal is that the centre features a 'flume' style slide rising up to three storeys in height.

Stainforth4All trustee Stuart Bolton is also involved in drawing up the proposals and said the consultation that is currently ongoing was an important element to make sure plans were what residents wanted. They are targeting at least 700 responses.

He is urging residents in Stainforth to fill in a form either online or to pick a form up at the library and complete it there.

Log onto https://www.facebook.com/stainforth4all/ to complete the survey.