Wives at Carver Barracks push for new playground facilities

By Raijeli Robanakadavu AS many as 40 per cent of soldiers wives based at Carver Barracks do not know how to drive – and that has led to a major push to improve playground facilities at the Wimbish base.

The figure was revealed in a survey last October and is seen as a contributing factor to the wives, many of whom have children under the age of five, and their families being deprived of entertainment outside the barracks.

Officer’s wife Eleanor Browne, who conducted the survey, said the problem can lead to depression and other social problems.

She said: “Most of the soldiers at the camp are away on deployment overseas or on short courses for three-quarters of the year and the wives are the ones that look after the family.

“Taking public transport into Saffron Walden is not a great experience, especially with children under the age of two.

“The playgrounds are dilapidated and not having that as a proper facility can cause more frustration.”

A questionnaire went out to the wives and revealed that 78 per cent class the current condition of the playgrounds – which were first installed 25 years ago but have not had new equipment for a decade – as in ‘poor condition’.

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It has been used to spearhead a positive project to build a new �100,000 state-of-the-art playground at the barracks.

A committee made up of soliders’ wives was formed, The Rowney Community Park Fund, to lead the project with the aim of raising cash for a “modern inspirational and exciting play park” to improve the lives of the army families and encourage civilian families onto the base. More than 250 families will benefit.

Improvements will include a wide range of equipment and the playground will be designed for children under 12 and also act as a meeting place for teenagers.

Funding for the project, supported by the station commander, has gone well, with more than �45,000 – including a substantial sum from military funds – having already been raised since October.

A company has been asked to carry out the work and it is expected that the installation will start by May.