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2015 marked 20 years since PARC's very first play session and we've had some amazing support over these last 20 years, and wouldn't have been able to continue our work without the many generous donations, the hard work and dedication from fundraisers and the many many hours of spare time donated by our fantastic volunteers. 


Our motto is simple, 'Every Child Has The Right To Play' and we hope to be able to carry on providing a safe and fun environment where all children can play freely, no matter what their abilities or individual needs, for many more years to come.  




PARC is a registered incorporated charity that was set up in 1995 by a group of parents of disabled children in response to a lack of local play opportunities and respite care.  Many disabled children are denied access to mainstream play opportunities due to physical, social and cognitive barriers and there are

waiting lists and stringent criteria to access help from statutory services.  


Pictured here is the first meeting of PARC (Essex). This was held in the back garden of Chairperson Richard Knight and Debbie Knight.  The picture shows Margret Deardon and son, Debbie Knight, Billy, Johnny Faulds, Richard Knight, Angela Faulds, and Barbara Bell.



The charity was and still is governed by a voluntary management committee, the majority of whom have a disabled child which means that the committee have an acute understanding of the lack of suitable play facilities for disabled children in Essex which became the inspiration for creating PARC.   


The committee persuaded Braintree District Council to grant a lease on an area of land at the local Country Park at a peppercorn rent.  In 2003 the local hospital donated a demountable unit which was refurbished and used as a temporary play and resource centre for a period of 4 years.  During this four year period the volume of service users grew steadily demonstrating the need for a permanent, purpose built centre.


In 2007 the charity obtained planning permission from the local authority

for a modest building to be erected on Great Notley Country Park.  

During the course of 2007/08 we ran a capital campaign for the project

and were successful in securing donations from a number of major donors

including The Roma Trust, Fowler Smith Jones Trust, Wooden Spoon,

Baily Thomas Foundation, Essex County Council, The Cloth worker’s

Foundation and The Barbara Ward Children’s Foundation amongst others. 

In June 2008 construction contract was awarded to ROK plc.


The build was completed at the end of January 2009.  




PARC has wonderful facilities and offers great services, however as with any organisation it is the people that work and volunteer for PARC that makes the difference, and we are so very grateful for everyone that has helped over the

past 20 years.  


A number of key individuals have been core to PARC's ongoing success. 


Richard Knight was one of our founding parents along with his wife Debbie.  Richard went on to be chairperson until 2009 AGM when he stood down after the new building was completed and he felt that he had achieved his goals. Richard was fundamental in laying the foundations in which PARC was built as an organisation.  Under his leadership, PARC grew to offer the help and support to over 250 children and families.


Everyone at PARC is very grateful for all of his years help and support that he gave and continues to give. 


During the 2010 AGM, Our previous chairman and founder Richard Knight was made Honorary President of PARC as a tribute in recognition for all the work and contribution made in making PARC the service it is today.  Without his initial idea and the time and effort putting it into fruition, our children would not have the PARC play facilities and support offered to them.


A plaque has been placed above the door to the main hall, along with a photograph taken at one of PARCs first meetings.  Photograph shows Richard and his Wife Debbie during the presentation.


Nick Ross outgoing PARC chairman said during the presentation “It is a great honour and privilege as my last act as PARC chairman to present our founder Richard Knight, with the position of honorary president. Richard was fundamental in laying the foundations in which PARC was built, and without his hard work and dedication PARC would not be able to offer the facilities and services it does today”.

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