Eden schoolgirls set up play park petition

Katelyn Ramsey and Brooke Smith with their petition for a play park at the Eden site.  INCT 35-723-CON
Katelyn Ramsey and Brooke Smith with their petition for a play park at the Eden site. INCT 35-723-CON

Two local schoolgirls have set up a petition urging Mid and East Antrim Council to provide a much-needed play park in Eden.

Katelyn Ramsey, 9, and ten-year-old Brooke Smith have gathered hundreds of signatures after going door-to-door in the area.

Katelyn, a pupil at Eden Primary, and Brooke, who goes to Woodlawn, were spurred into action after noticing the limited opportunities for outdoor play in the vicinity.

And with play parks in most of the town’s other built up areas, the youngsters questioned Eden’s lack of a similar facility.

“We were bored one day and we wanted to go somewhere, but we had nowhere to go,” said Brooke.

“There’s a big field up at [Eden Community Centre], but it’s not very easy to get to,” added Katelyn.

Almost 230 people have signed the document in just two weeks, with the vast majority of residents keen to support the idea.

“Some people told us to come back when we knew more about it, but most of them wanted to sign it when we told them what is was for,” said Katelyn.

“We just want a wee park with swings, monkey bars and things like that. It could be in the middle of Eden so that everyone could get to it.”

Meanwhile, the girls’ efforts are receiving strong backing from their families. “It’s a good thing for them to take on and it’s kept them busy over the summer,” said Brooke’s mum, Charlene.

“When [the girls] were younger, one of us could take them down to one of the other parks in Carrick but they’re that bit older now and they want some independence,” added Claire, mum of Katelyn.

The girls are aiming for a total of 250-300 signatures on the petition before presenting it to the council.

They have even picked a potential site for the play park - a piece of disused ground behind the former Kilroot playgroup building.

“We’re trying to find out at the moment who owns that piece of land,” said Claire.

Meanwhile, at last month’s meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Operational Committee, councillors were presented with a report examining the potential for a play park strategy.

Despite identifying good provision overall across the borough, a number of areas were flagged up for attention, including Eden. It was noted to have the highest number of 0-15 year olds across the new borough, but had no play park provision.