CAMPAIGNERS who fought a three-year battle for children's play facilities are celebrating securing the last piece of the funding jigsaw.

This week, Sedgefield Borough Council has awarded £39,655 from its local improvement programme to Middlestone Moor play area.

The project has been led by Middlestone Moor Action Reform Group, which is made up of residents and families from Middlestone Moor.

The group was set up to try and improve the quality of life for people in Middlestone Moor by improving services and providing better facilities.

Having identified the need for a play area, the action group set about securing funding to provide an area on a disused playing field.

Chairman of the group, Russell Stewart, said: "This is the third and final phase. Phase one and two saw a children's play area for children aged four to eight years installed, and a multi-use games area.

"Phase three of the development will be for slightly older children, but the play area is already being well used by a lot of children of all ages.

"The previous play facilities we had were antiquated and were too far away. Parents like their children to be close by, so there was a real need for the facility."

Last year, Sedgefield Borough Council donated £70,000 to provide traditional playground equipment at the park, which is just off Central Drive, in the village.

The games area, which is used for football, basketball and netball, was provided by Barclays Bank, which donated £25,000 from its Spaces for Sports fund.

Durham County Council also donated £20,000 and an extra £6,216 has been awarded from the County Durham Foundation's local network fund.

"We're grateful for all the funding and the help we've had for this project," said Mr Stewart.

"The play area has been our main concern for a while but the group didn't just set up with just the play area in mind.

"Among other things, we're looking at a project which would see the alleys round the back of houses on the estate gated, which will hopefully cut down on anti-social behaviour."