The Southmead Development Trust are excited to announce they are taking on the management of the Southmead Adventure Playground from 1st January 2019.  Known as ‘The Ranch’ by Southmead Residents the playground is currently at risk due to budget cuts in the delivery of play work across the City.

After an unsatisfactory tender process last summer Bristol City Council has now asked the Southmead Development Trust to step in and manage The Ranch.  Chief Executive Alex Kittow said, “This is why the Southmead Development Trust exists; we are here to help find ways for our community to retain its services and assets and to keep them running.  We want to ensure that Southmead children can continue to access play services for free.  We don’t have the money at the moment but this is a risk we’re willing to take because we’re confident the residents of Southmead will support us”.

Southmead families were the first to hear the good news last Saturday as they gathered together at the annual Southmead Christmas Panto at the Greenway Centre.  Youth Team Leader James Creed said, “We made the announcement just before the performance of Beauty and the Beast and asked the community to support and help the Southmead Development Trust save The Ranch.  There were rounds of applause and as they left Residents signed up to Volunteer to help”.

Southmead Residents Suzanne Simons and Sheralyn Fowler have both led earlier campaigns to save The Ranch and are delighted that this time there is backing from their local charity to help secure its future.  Sheralyn said, “The Ranch is close to all our hearts; our families helped to build it in the 1950s and generations of children have grown up with it as their learning, growing and play centre.  We want to keep it open for our children now and for future generations”.

The Ranch was burned down in 2015 and rebuilt in 2016 with the help of a local fund-raising campaign, so when the Council announced cuts to play services last summer it was another blow for the Community.  Suzanne Simons added, “This time, with the support of the Southmead Development Trust, we have a much better chance of raising the funds needed to keep The Ranch open.  We always fear when the next closure will come and when the next session will be cancelled but if we all pull together we have a much better chance of getting there this time”.

Helen Godwin, Southmead’s local Councillor and Cabinet Member for Women, Children and Young People said, “The Southmead Development Trust is committed to protecting community assets such as the Ranch and I look forward to working with them to ensure The Ranch is a vibrant, safe and happy place to play”.

The campaign to save The Ranch last Summer led by Resident Suzanne Simons.  Copyright: Bristol Post