LOCAL children and parents came along to the East Devon District Council (EDDC) Community Festival in The Crescent in Littleham, Exmouth on Saturday 17 May.

As part of the day the new £40,000 outdoor Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) with lines and goals for netball, basketball and football, was officially opened.

Town Mayor and EDDC Champion for Exmouth, Councillor John Humphreys, cut the ribbon and declared the games area open and ready for fun.

As part of the opening basketball coaching was available from a professional basketballer on the new games area.

In addition to the new equipment children and young people were able on Saturday to have a go at circus skills, arts and crafts and much more as part of the Community Festival - all for free and provided by EDDC Community Development Workers.

Community The games area project is the result of a close working relationship between Exmouth Town Council and EDDC.

The games area was proposed and chosen by the local community.

The £40,000 was contributed by developers through Section 106 funding for sport.

This type of contribution was a condition of planning approval for a number of developments in the area. EDDC follows the groundbreaking policy of inviting residents to decide how this is spent.

In 2011, EDDC and Exmouth Town Council asked community groups, residents and other organisations to put forward their ideas as to how £150,000 of the sports funding accumulated from recent Exmouth housing developments (Section 106 money) should be spent.

Devon and Cornwall Police covering the Littleham area proposed the idea of a multi use games area in Littleham.

Vote These ideas were then taken out to residents and they were able to vote on which ones they wanted to happen in Exmouth.

Since then the Exmouth Town Council group and East Devon District Council have been working together to deliver what residents had chosen. The following have already happened through this project and are already in place for residents to use:

• The outdoor gym equipment in Phear Park and on the seafront (£25,000)

• The multi use games area and refurbished tennis courts in Phear Park (£75,000 towards the £200,000 project)

• Making Exmouth skate park larger and re-designing it with new ramps (£60,000)

• Outdoor showers on the seafront (£15,000)

Councillor John Humphreys said: “This is democracy working well, with a sum of money being released into the community. EDDC and the Town Council worked with local residents and young people to find out what they wanted. The Town Council then worked with the local Police Officer and EDDC to make it happen. It’s great that Littleham now has a multi use play area for all ages”.

Councillor Alison Greenhalgh, Exmouth Town Councillor for Littleham, said: “It's great that we have this now. The Littleham councillors have been working very hard to improve play and sporting opportunities for all age groups and it's clear that this games area is very popular.

"We are now working on further projects to give children and young people exciting activites to keep them fit, healthy and happy!”.

Councillor Christine Drew, Vice Chairman of East Devon District Council and Member Champion for Youth, said: “I'm delighted to have played a part in enabling this to take place and I'm glad we can use Section 106 money from developers in this way.

"It's brilliant to see so many young people here today and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy this facility”.