A friends group improving a village recreation ground could receive funding of up to £12,500.

Since January 2012, the Friends of Middleton and Ickornshaw have been busy making improvements to the Snowden Memorial Recreation Ground in Cowling, known locally as Middleton Rec.

Now Cowling Parish Council has agreed to match any money raised until April 1, 2014, up to a maximum of £12,500.

Friends chairman, Vicky Pearman, was “ecstatic” when she heard the news, and revealed a fundraising campaign was under way.

Middleton Rec has a set of swings, a multi-play structure with a slide and bridge, parallel bars and baby swings.

Some of the equipment was re-painted last year, but Vicky said it was time to upgrade to some “more exciting” equipment.

“The equipment in the play area is looking tired, but it’s certainly serviceable,” said Vicky. “We just want to make it more exciting for the children.”

She said the group would undertake fundraising at this summer’s Cowling Gala, and is also planning other events.

Vicky is hoping her son, James, who turns two in April, will be able to see the benefits of new play equipment and a better community atmosphere at the recreation ground.

She said: “My vision is to get people together as a community for events, such as a barbecue or a fun day.