Friday, 27 February 2015

Do young people spend enough time in the great outdoors?

Outdoor space is at a premium particularly in urbanised and deprived areas, so children who will learn through engaging activity sadly are deprived of access to areas where they can actively learn about the natural environment.

On Wednesday 18th February however, the ribbon was cut to formally mark the reopening of the Southmead Adventure Playground. 

The Southmead Councillor and Bristol Assistant Mayor for children, young people and education, Brenda Massey did the honours and expressed her "...praise [for] everyone who worked on this project, and particularly the selfless volunteers who donated their own time to help with the rebuild". 

Landmark Information Group; from which 300 staff volunteered to do the hard-labour, teamed up with Learning Partnership West and Splash Projects to restore the Southmead Adventure Playground for young people in one of Bristol’s most disadvantaged areas.
The Southmead Adventure Playground now boasts a large run-a-round structure, aerial runway and american swing; also an under 8's area with water and sand play, three climbing walls, a rope climb, tyre wall, a beautiful pond and outdoor study area, a new and improved zip wire and much better access to the 2 acre site.

“We hope the structures will stand tall for many years to come, representing all the hard work Landmark, Learning Partnership West and Splash have carried out. It’s been a great joint effort” says Nicola Burcham, LPW Chief Executive.

The children and young people whom attend Southmead Adventure Playground played an important role in the design of the new structure; their views and opinions are at the heart of what Learning Partnership West do every day so it was only fitting that their ideas were then turned into reality. 

The conservationist Steve England will be teaching the Southmead community about the importance of the natural environment, in the new and improved outdoor classroom and newly developed outdoor pond; which for many of these youngsters will be their only opportunity to experience ecology up close.  

Southmead APG has strong community links and young people are encouraged to budget their own money and to sort out any disputes they may have through talking. Learning Partnership West will hopefully continue this work for many years to come. 

The Splash team was brilliant and worked so hard to get the structures finished. Children now have access to the main building, housing a soft play room for under 8's, a craft room where activities such as t/shirt printing and dyeing, clay work, kite making, marbling, amongst other craft activities take place.

The main building is all on one level so no steps are involved, it has disabled access and toilets. A ramp leads into the main room with dividing doors into the soft play/craft areas, also the shower toilet block.

Staff at Southmead Adventure Playground would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible. 

"It is an honour to cut the ribbon of the new Southmead Adventure Playground which I’m sure will be enjoyed by children and young people from the local community for years to come”, says Brenda Massey

“When we heard about the opportunity to help two local communities in Bristol provide a safe and modern play and learning environment for their children, we knew this was challenge all Landmarkers would value and rise to”, says Mark Milner, CEO Landmark Information Group.

Here is the full video of the teams in action: