The Pavilion project was not the beginning of our long term ambition. Over the past years the Atherington Children’s Playing Field Committee, with the help of many members of the community, worked hard to provide a play area that was a safe and enjoyable environment for the local children. In many cases the children themselves being involved in the on-going work and money raising activities. (For example: the manning of stalls at fêtes; collecting rubbish for the bonfire; making a BMX track; painting the equipment; rolling back the turf for the new football pitch etc.)
To bring the standard of the facilities up to current acceptable levels, it was necessary to provide a pavilion which would have adequate kitchen facilities and toilets for those using the playing field or multi-sports area. (This is particularly important when there are events being held in the playing field such as football/netball competitions, fêtes, barbecues, etc). The previous lack of this facility for visiting sports teams and their supporters had been a huge disadvantage and also, when planning money raising events generally.
As well as our young community, we realised that there were many adults who also enjoyed the visiting the playing field and benefitted from the relaxing environment there. The views from the field are stunning – and many parents and grandparents visit the field with children on a daily basis.
Improved kitchen and toilet facilities in the pavilion enhance the already strong community and provide an indoor sports and meeting area: where everyone can enjoy themselves.
Prior to the Church and Baptist Halls being closed there were regular youth club, playgroup and mother and toddler group meetings in the village. The WI used to meet in the Church Hall, as did the Parish Council and Short Mat Bowls group. Most of these groups are able to benefit from the new pavilion.
The refurbished pavilion gives the local community and our neighbours, an opportunity to meet in a comfortable environment for indoor sports; small meetings and family/village celebrations. It is a safe area for children to play in, and where parents/grandparents can relax. There is easy access and parking for those who have impaired mobility. Additionally, every one of the many volunteers, irrespective of age and ability, feel a sense of achievement with the completed project.
Over the years we have worked to provide a safe and exciting children’s recreational area. Nevertheless, we feel that there are other age groups within the community who benefit from a sport and social based environment. As well as a mother and toddler group, playgroup and youth club, we are able to focus on the older generation. This project provides an easily accessible, modest sized club-room where young and old can meet to play short mat bowls, table-tennis etc., thus avoiding the 20 mile round trip to Barnstaple.
For many people living alone and in particular the elderly and those without transport, life can become quite lonely – especially in the winter months. The refurbished pavilion becomes a meeting place where people can participate in indoor games, shelter from the weather or just enjoy a welcome cup of tea with their friends, giving a heart back to this Devon village.