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Aspire Ryde held a double celebration last Wednesday (20th November) to mark the official opening of their new community soft play facility.

Kingdom Play is based at Aspire’s Dover Street site in the heart of Ryde. It is currently open during the week with plans for weekend opening in the New Year.

The reason for the double celebration is that the charity also formally accepted the keys to the building from the Bishop of Portsmouth following its transfer from the Church of England.

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Trustees, volunteers and staff welcomed the Patrons of the charity who officially opened the facility with a dip in the ball pool and a quick trip on the slide. Patrons were also joined by a class from Dover Park Primary School who enjoyed a treasure hunt competition in the new 3-storey play area.

The event was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of Heath Monaghan, the founder of Aspire Ryde, as he moves on from the organisation to train for Anglican pioneer ministry.

Chief Executive, Trevor Nicholas said:

“The work that Heath and his wife Jules have accomplished here is truly amazing. To build Aspire from nothing into the thriving community charity that it has become is an incredible achievement and leaves a great legacy for the Ryde Community. It is fitting as Heath moves on that the charity now owns the building and can continue to develop the facilities for the benefit of the local area and people.

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“We are really pleased to be able to offer the softplay as a community space for local families and we are already seeing it used well. Over the next few months we will be looking to provide increased access to the play area and to develop the facilities further.”

The Aspire Ryde Patrons are Lady Sally Grylls, The Bishop of Portsmouth, Michael Lilley (The Mayor of Ryde), Gioia and Richard Minghella-Giddens.

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