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Historical Mosaic back on display in Crawley’s Memorial Gardens

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Image: Cllr Mullins with Jeannie Smith and Cllr Francis Guidera

A little piece of Crawley’s history is back on display in the town centre.

The Queen’s Mosaic, which was built in the 1958s by master mosaic fixer Len Baker, from Carter Tiles, has been restored and installed in the all-new Memorial Gardens Play Area.

Crawley Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and the Mayor of Crawley met Mr Baker’s daughter, Jeannie Smith, to celebrate its new home.

Originally situated in Queens Square, the mosaic depicts chess boards and a scene from the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland.

Image: Len Baker

The mosaic was removed from Queens Square in the 1990s and recently installed in Memorial Gardens in the town centre as part as part of the all-new play area. It now sits on display in the picnic area.

Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Councillor Chris Mullins, said:

“I am delighted the mosaic has a new home, it was a treasured part of Queens Square for many years and the play area is the perfect place for such a fun, imaginative piece of art.”

Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Francis Guidera, said:

“It was lovely to meet Jeannie and see the mosaic in its new home, it looks fantastic and I’m so pleased that future generations will be able to enjoy it. A happy ending for the mosaic!”  Jeannie Smith said: “I didn’t know about the mosaic until I moved to Crawley and my father told me he’d made it, it’s wonderful to see it and I know my dad would be very happy and proud to see it on display.”

Community

Grant ensures two Crawley playgrounds can remain open

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Crawley Borough Council has announced that two of its adventure playgrounds will remain open for supervised play this year following a one-off grant from the government.

The government has given every local authority a Lower Tier Services Grant so the council has decided to use this to keep Cherry Lane and Millpond adventure playgrounds open as supervised, open access play sites until the end of October half-term 2021 (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).

Millpond and Cherry Lane will operate with an online registration and booking system to create a Covid-secure environment and ensure that the adventure playgrounds are being used by Crawley children.

However, this grant is for one year only so after October, Cherry Lane Adventure Playground will move to unsupervised play.

After October half-term, Millpond Adventure Playground in Bewbush will close permanently. Creasys Drive Adventure Playground in Broadfield is already closed and will not reopen. The council will be bringing forward new unsupervised play facilities in Broadfield and Bewbush in due course.

Waterlea Adventure Playground will be refurbished and then reopen as an unsupervised play site in 2022.

The council will also bring in its new model of outreach play, which will look to move play activities into neighbourhoods and increase participation. This model will also:

  • Increase the range of play opportunities for children away from more traditional building-based activities
  • Reach groups that may not usually access services
  • Make use of buildings across the town and work in partnership with other existing groups and organisations.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While the long-term impact of Covid-19 on council funding means adventure playgrounds will have to move to unsupervised play by 2022, I’m glad that this one-off funding means we can continue to provide supervised play until next winter, as we roll out our new outreach model.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“I welcome this additional government funding that has enabled us to extend supervised play at two adventure playgrounds for this year, while we also work to refurbish Waterlea for unsupervised play for next year.”

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