The Big Swing

The Big Swing

Securing funding for The Big Swing

What’s The Big Swing?

Eccleshill Adventure Playground (EAP) – known locally as The Big Swing – is a children’s adventure playground based in Bradford. It is open daily (after school, at weekends and during school holidays) and provides free, open-access play opportunities for children and young people aged 5-16. The large-scale adventure play equipment includes a huge swing, a 40ft zip wire and a wood fort. Children are also encouraged to create and shape the play spaces by constructing dens, tree houses, go-karts and other structures and making campfires in the outdoor kitchen. Children and young people are free to come and go as they please, but qualified and experienced playworkers are on hand to ensure that all children and young people have a positive play experience. The playground has been in operation since 2005 and an established charity since 2008.

ASCEND’s involvement

In 2016, A5cend supported EAP to develop a funding application for a 3-year project aimed at improving and embedding adventurous play opportunities in Bradford’s most deprived communities. EAP lacked the capacity to work on the funding application in-house, but also welcomed A5cend’s knowledge and track record in fundraising.

Services delivered:

Fundraising strategy

Funding bids revenue and core

 Fundraising training


“We were aware that A5cend had had fundraising success with other organisations, so we wanted to maximise our chances of securing that funding by using A5cend’s skills. A5cend is very knowledgeable in terms of funding sources, especially for adventure playgrounds. The play agenda has taken a massive hit over recent years and there are not many funders who will support play, so it is really helpful to have A5cend on board to help us identify suitable funding.”

“Off the back of the application process, we learnt a lot as an organisation. Our confidence improved, and we felt more able to apply for more complex funding, which we had perhaps avoided in the past. We also had a ready-made model for future funding applications.”

The successes

The grant application was successful, enabling EAP to deliver regular adventurous play sessions, annual community play days, play training to parents and carers, and bi-monthly play forums for stakeholders and community members to shape and develop local play provision in Bradford’s most deprived areas. This was a big grant for EAP at the time, and it boosted their credibility with funders, helping them to drawn down further funding. Securing the grant also helped to raise EAP’s aspirations about what they could apply for in the future.

“The evaluation framework that A5cend has developed is based around an I.T. model, so has moved us away from just using paper forms etc. We are able to upload data from users, which can then be easily analysed for our monitoring and reporting purposes. There are efficiencies that come with that – it reduces the time we need to spend on monitoring and reporting, so has helped to increase our capacity.”

The impact

Once the funding was secured, A5cend helped to develop an evaluation framework for the 3-year project. This included putting in place effective evaluation systems, analysing the data at the end of each year and producing annual evaluation reports. While the evaluation framework was initially set up to support this specific project, EAP has been able to apply the model to other projects and services, helping to improve data collection, monitoring and evaluation across the whole organisation.

For more information about Eccleshill Adventure Playground visit: