• A group of people involved with the Takapuna Beach Playground Project on the site in late November. From left: Paul Duffy (Devonport Takapuna Local Board Parks Advisor), Aidan Bennett (trustee and Benefitz/Channel Mag), Simon O'Connor (Sentinel Planning), Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve (the duo driving the project and trustee), Philippa Bollond (playground designer), Sarah Greenway (Facebook organiser from local business Intersea) and Graeme Conning (trustee and Conning Barraclough Accountants).

    A group of people involved with the Takapuna Beach Playground Project on the site in late November. From left: Paul Duffy (Devonport Takapuna Local Board Parks Advisor), Aidan Bennett (trustee and Benefitz/Channel Mag), Simon O'Connor (Sentinel Planning), Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve (the duo driving the project and trustee), Philippa Bollond (playground designer), Sarah Greenway (Facebook organiser from local business Intersea) and Graeme Conning (trustee and Conning Barraclough Accountants).

  • Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve.

    Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve.

Channel Feature: Community News

Takapuna Beach Playground – It's all go!
Aidan Bennett provides some exciting news about the progress of this community-driven project

In the June issue of Channel Mag I had the pleasure of highlighting the initiative of Takapuna couple Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve to get a wonderful playground built for Takapuna Beach. The heartwarming news is they have made some real progress since that time and are confident that within the next 6-12 months it will be built.

Jackie and Chris are locals who have lived on Takapuna Beach for nine years. As we outlined in the June issue, their desire from the outset has been to see a very special playground built for the community on Gould Reserve, the main reserve between The Strand and the beach in Takapuna. From a simple idea, and a handwritten poster and message displayed on their fence, they initially collected dozens and dozens of letters of support. It was from seeing that message on the fence that I first made contact with them to help publicise their desire and initiative. I can proudly say that I am now very involved in the project as a trustee of the trust that has been set up to organise, fund and gift the playground to the people of Takapuna and the wider North Shore and Auckland region.

It has only been possible, however, through the drive and desire of these two community-minded folk. They have essentially undertaken to follow this project through that's estimated at $500,000 to complete, supported by fundraising contributions. It is an extraordinary gesture. What is neat also is that they have engaged a designer who I feel really "gets it". While at the time of writing the article the final plans had not had the final stamp of approval from the local board, I understand they are very much in keeping with the very special natural surroundings – Pohutakawa's and the beach.

"Yes we are thrilled to get the go ahead." said Jackie Kerridge in late November when I quizzed her on how satisfying it is to make progress. "Takapuna is not well served with playgrounds. People before us have attempted to provide this very important amenity, so we are blessed to have the right timing to assist with this. Chris and I have been aware of this being a great playground site for more than three years and when we were challenged by our neighbour – a local board member – to do something about it, we took up the challenge."
Jackie says that she has received over 2000 indications of support, many of whom have either sent wonderful hand written letters, or have come through a Facebook page set up by one of the wonderful supporters, Sarah Greenway.

"Sarah is one of the many locals with young kids who has put her hand up to help. The enthusiasm has been fantastic."

"We have been assisted by the (Devonport Takapuna) Local Board to engage Philippa Bollond as the playground designer and she has produced a wonderful draft design for the board to sign off," adds Chris Reeve. "Simon O'Connor of Sentinel Planning will then help us through the resource consent process. Rick Shera from law firm Lowndes Jordan has helped us establish the Takapuna Beach Playground Trust and in late November we received charitable status so that all contributions to the playground will be tax deductible. It is wonderful that both Simon and Rick have provided their services 'pro-bono' entering into the spirit of this community-driven project."

"The Takapuna Beach Playground Trust has been established with local accountant Graeme Conning, Aidan Bennett (Benefitz and Channel Mag) and myself (Chris Reeve) as the trustees. The sole aim of the trust is to receive tax deductible donations, to administer the donations and to spend 100% of these donations on the construction of the playground. When the playground has been completed it will be gifted to the Devonport Takapuna Local board and the trust will be wound up, leaving the board – on behalf of Auckland Council – to own, control and maintain it."

As this issue went to press Jackie, Chris and the playground trust were all set to commence fundraising. The next steps on the project will be design, resource consent and funding.
"Then we build it," adds Chris with a satisfied grin. "Jackie and I are hoping it will be in full use by next summer. We are determined to build this all abilities, all ages, playground and have no doubt that the three next steps will be achieved. In the past year or two Jackie and I have taken our grandchildren to playgrounds all over Auckland and have noted good features in playgrounds around the world during our travels. We are aiming to choose playground equipment that is durable and is popular with the users,  but will very importantly blend in with the site."

"We have been in discussions with the approved designer Philippa Bollond about the design and which pieces of equipment we have found to have been the most popular in all of the playgrounds we have visited. Our goal is to complete the very best all abilities, all ages playground in Auckland."

Jackie and Chris are thrilled that many individuals, corporates, businesses and community groups have offered support towards our goal.

"We have promises in excess of $100,000 but have accepted no donations to date pending the establishment of the trust, achieving charitable status and the certainty of proceeding. Local Rotary Clubs have indicated firm support. My immediate task is to choose a bank to set up an account into which donations can be channelled. Graeme Conning is a principal of Conning Barraclough and this Takapuna accountancy firm will be monitoring the trust account – more appreciated pro bono services! Early indications are that we may spend up to $500,000 on the construction of this playground. Quality is our goal with no funds wasted."

So where to from here you may ask?

The trust is seeking the support of the community to help with the project. In late November a bank account was opened and a fundraising page established with online fundraising portal 'Give-a-little'. This is where you can go to make a contribution towards this fantastic new playground for Takapuna Beach. No donation is too small or too large!

"We are urging parents, grandparents and just those who care to support this initiative by making a donation," explains Chris Reeve. "All donations are tax deductible and opportunities are also available for appropriate corporates or businesses to provide financial support in return for tasteful acknowledgements within the playground."

To donate visit www.givealittle.co.nz or for more information visit the special Facebook page www.facebook.com/takaplayground

If you would like to contact Jackie or Chris you can do so via email: supermn_nz@hotmail.com

www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/takaplayground

By Aidan Bennett
aidan@benefitz.co.nz
Twitter:  @AidanLBennett
Facebook:  benefitzdma
Instagram:  benefitzdma

Channel Magazine: Issuu 50 December 2014 | January 2015

Features articles by Aidan Bennett