Improving Play Spaces fund

We are inviting town and parish councils and constituted organisations to apply for match funding to invest in North Somerset play areas.

The £250,000 ‘Improving Play Spaces Fund’ has been set up to offer capital match funding of up to 50% following approval of the 2022-23 budget by councillors in February.

The fund has been created to enable town and parish councils and local groups and organisations to enhance and improve their local children’s and young people’s play facilities. The funding will provide up to 50% of the cost of the project, with the remaining funding being provided from other sources.

This fund is likely to be popular and we are keen to maximise the number of projects we can support. With that in mind, funding will be capped at £20,000 for each project. Only under exceptional circumstances will a single project be awarded more than this.

Projects that enhance the accessibility and inclusivity of play facilities to children of all ages and abilities will be prioritised.

Eligibility criteria

Please read the eligibility criteria carefully to make sure that your project is eligible before making an application. We can’t accept applications unless all these criteria are met:

  • you are a town or parish council or you are a local group willing to collaborate with a town or parish council to apply
  • you are a constituted organisation
  • you already have or will secure partnership funding of 50% or more of the total cost of the project
  • your project includes all installation costs and landscaping works required
  • your project can be delivered by the end of March 2023
  • you can deliver all ongoing maintenance for the facilities that you are investing in (if this is the existing situation)
  • you are the landowner of the land on which the facilities will be installed, or you have landowner permission for the installation of facilities
  • you can meet the health and safety requirements for the installation and maintenance of play equipment
  • the facilities will be open and accessible to the public at no cost


There is likely to be a high demand for this funding opportunity. Priority will be given to schemes which:

  • provide value for money. For example, this may be to enhance or expand existing projects and facilities to enable broader participation, showing a high level of match funding
  • enhance accessibility for those with disabilities and mental health needs
  • demonstrate there is local need for the scheme
  • demonstrate there is local community support for the scheme
  • demonstrate a high level of deliverability. For example, using detailed design and installation plans, evidence of meeting health and safety requirements
  • demonstrate a high level of commitment to the ongoing maintenance of the facilities. For example, replacement of equipment that has been poorly maintained in the past will not be funded
  • new provision where no play facilities exist for the age range, will be considered. This will be on a case-by-case basis due to limited funds

Further information

  • the council is looking for a range of schemes and locations for young people of all ages across North Somerset
  • there are no additional funds from the council to support ongoing maintenance. Commitment to maintain the facility will be required
  • the applicant/facility owner will be responsibility for the new equipment to be approved by the appropriate body such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • the planning and installation of the facilities, such as safety surfacing, must be led by the applicant and included within the total cost
  • the applicant must take responsibility for any planning requirements, procurement and project management of the scheme
  • the council has produced a guide to provide examples of equipment and associated costs.  Please note: this is to be used for example purposes only
  • if the play area identified is a North Somerset Council owned site, please contact

Costing guide

We have put together an information pack to help you cost your project. The pack includes details of a wide range of play area equipment, including costs, dimensions, age ranges and URL links.

How to apply

Applications must be completed in full and submitted by 5pm on Thursday 30 June 2022. Supporting documents for your application can be emailed to quoting the title of your project and organisation name.

More than one application can be submitted by a town and parish council or other organisation for different locations. Each location must be submitted on separate application forms.

All questions and enquiries should be emailed to For urgent enquiries only, please call 01934 427 222.

How we evaluate applications

There will be four stages in this process.

Stage 1

All applicants will be required to complete the application form by the deadline.

Stage 2

All applications will be reviewed by North Somerset Council officers using the following headings:

Assessment criteria Weighting
Accessibility of equipment to be provided 20%
Filling strategic gaps in provision across North Somerset  20%
Deliverability within timescale Pass/fail, then 20%
Sustainability - long-term management and maintenance in place Pass/fail
Local support for the scheme 20%
Partnership funding / funding required Pass/fail then 20%


  • the fund aims to balance the provision of play facilities across North Somerset
  • to support this, the assessment process will allow projects to be prioritised in areas where provision is lacking
  • should the fund be over-subscribed, the council will look to award a higher number of projects requesting lower amounts of funding, rather than those requesting funds at the top of the limit
  • all applications will be assessed after the closing date
  • the decisions made by the council with be final

Stage 3

Applications will be short listed and presented to a council panel for final approval.

We intend to inform councils of the outcome of their application by Sunday 31 July 2022 irrespective of whether they have been successful.

Stage 4

Funds allocated to the successful projects.

A copy of the application form can be accessed via the following link.