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Mobilizing Community Support for a New Playground


Creating a new playground is not just about installing slides and swings—it’s about building a vibrant community space where children can play and neighbors can connect. However, turning this dream into reality requires broad community support and engagement, which can be more difficult than building the playground itself! While some communities have an outpouring of support, others do not. This doesn’t mean that these communities can’t benefit from a playground; it just means that finding support might be more difficult.

Below are some practical approaches to mobilizing your community to support a new playground project.

Step 1: Identify Community Needs and Desires

Before you start planning, it's crucial to understand the community’s needs and desires. Conduct surveys, host community meetings and have informal conversations with local families to gather input on what they would like to see in a new playground. You can even do this on social media, such as on a community or neighborhood page.

This initial step starts the conversation and also ensures that the project aligns with the expectations of the community. Sometimes, a lack of community support is the result of the original idea not meeting their needs. Having these important conversations early on also allows you to gather feedback immediately to keep the project moving in the right direction.

Step 2: Form a Planning Committee

Gather a diverse group of individuals who are enthusiastic about the project to form a planning committee. This committee might include parents, teachers, local business owners and representatives from community organizations. Their role will be to steer the project, from planning to execution, ensuring that all tasks are managed effectively. Having a diverse group of people also guarantees that you’ll be hearing multiple ideas and suggestions and not just focusing on a certain segment of your community.

Step 3: Design the Playground

With community feedback, start designing the playground. Consider hiring a professional designer or architect who can draft a plan that is safe, accessible and fun for all ages. Many playground equipment companies offer design services as well, allowing you to work with one team from start to finish. Ensure the design includes various elements that cater to different ages and abilities. Seeing a rough draft also makes it easier for people to envision what the final product will look like, adding to the excitement.

Step 4: Fundraising

Fundraising is often the most challenging step. Organize fundraising events such as bake sales, community fairs or charity runs. Consider applying for grants from local businesses, government agencies or non-profit organizations dedicated to community development. Crowdfunding platforms can also be a great tool to raise funds and build community support simultaneously. For more information about raising funds for your playground, check out Play 4 All, a free program for Cunningham Recreation customers who are looking to build interest and secure funding for their playground.

Step 5: Engage Local Businesses and Sponsors

Local businesses can provide support through donations, in-kind contributions or sponsorship. In return, offer to place their logos on playground equipment or promotional materials as a form of advertising. Building relationships with local businesses not only aids your fundraising efforts but also strengthens community ties. You can even invite them to your grand opening and give them the opportunity to share about their business!

Step 6: Promote the Project

Utilize local media, social media platforms and community newsletters to promote the playground project. Regular updates can keep the community informed and engaged, making them more likely to support your project. Highlight the benefits of the new playground, such as promoting physical activity, enhancing community safety and increasing property values.

Step 7: Volunteer Recruitment and Management

For the construction phase, recruit volunteers from the community. Organizing volunteer days can reduce costs and foster a sense of ownership and pride in the completed playground. Some of the tasks you can request help with are cleaning up the space, helping put together equipment, hanging signs, trimming trees, handing out bottles of water and sharing updates on social media. Ensure you have a clear plan for managing volunteers so that everyone stays on track!

Step 8: Grand Opening Celebration

Once the playground is built, organize a grand opening celebration to thank everyone involved. This event can serve as one final fundraising opportunity and a celebration of the community’s hard work and collaboration. Activities could include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, games, food trucks and live entertainment. Again, reach out to people in the community who can help make this event a success!

Wrapping Up

Building a new playground is a significant community project that requires careful planning, dedicated fundraising and strong community engagement. By following these steps, you can mobilize community support and create a new space that will be cherished for many years. To get the ball rolling on your new playground project, contact Cunningham Recreation today.