In an effort to rival any Backyard Blitz make-over, the Cobar Uniting Church has transformed a dry and dusty patch of dirt allocated for parking, into a green, safe and welcoming children’s playground.
Frontier Services Cobar/Nyngan Patrol Minister Rev Ian Tucker endorsed the facility with enthusiasm. As a part of his ministry, Mr Tucker spends half his time serving the communities of Cobar and Nyngan and the other half patrolling the region.
“The playground is a marvelous resource. When I first came here it was a dry bit of undeveloped car park. The whole intent of the renovations was to provide a new facility in the town and what better than a playground to foster a relationship between the Uniting Church and the community. It is a first-class facility that will see a lot of use,” he said.
The idea was a light bulb moment for Therese Hill, a member of the Cobar congregation, who realised that there was nowhere in Cobar for the children of community members to play outside, except for designated childcare centres.
Therese researched the feasibility of the idea and, putting together a proposal, presented it to the church council. The council then applied to the Presbytery Property Sub-committee for the funds needed to build the playground. When the idea was accepted, the heavy work to make the dream a reality began.
The plans involved laying artificial turf, erecting child protection fencing surrounding the area and a shade sail and constructing a sand pit. An extension of this work include the installation of a new kitchen in the church hall and a new filtering rainwater tank with a pressure pump to bring the water from the tank to the tap in the kitchen.
Therese and her husband Gordon, the Frontier Services Work Party Co-coordinator, both supervised and contributed to the physical work.
Currently, there are approximately 30 children who use the playground as a part of the after school care group. Soon however, the congregation would like to see the wider community making more use of the new hall facilities.
There a lot of expats and families on working visas in Cobar who do not have local community ties, or family support which can be quite isolating for many of the young families. The congregation would like to see the center become a hub of support for these families and the larger community, said Therese.
There will be an official opening ceremony for the centre on 5 May, 2012 at the hall. Ian Tucker will be present on the day.