Family Matters: Playground on its marks for Olympics

Sheffield MP David Blunkett presenting play course work certificates to parents at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground
Sheffield MP David Blunkett presenting play course work certificates to parents at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground
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Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, which is campaigning to remain open in the face of cuts to funding, is holding a fun day on Saturday.

The playground in Melrose Road is holding the latest in a series of summer events from noon to 6pm. The theme for the day will be Pitsmoor Olympics, with sports and fun activities for children and families.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Vickie Priestley and her consort Lloyd Priestley will be visiting the ecvent to present children with medals and certificates.

The adventure playground also joined in the national Playday last week, where hundreds of children and their families enjoyed junk modelling, mud kitchens and den making.

As well as a celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in their lives.

Last week more than 600 celebratory community events took place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to mark the annual campaign.

Hundreds of individuals, families and whole communities have been involved with the 2013 Playful places campaign which calls on everyone to help make sure that the places where children live and hang out are great places to play.

At present, the Pitsmoor Adventure Playground users’ group are awaiting a meeting with city council officers to talk about its future.

As part of council budget cuts, the opening hours have been cut from 25 per week to nine. The playground is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 3pm during the school holidays.

The group want to keep the playground open and run by the council.

At the moment, council staff from Activity Sheffield run all the play sessions with help from volunteers.

“It’s brilliant to play here,” said Ben, aged six from, Bannerdale.

“My mum takes me down to play, because it’s not safe on the streets now in my area, It’s safe here, though, and there’s lots of laughing,” said Shaid, aged nine.

Chichi, aged 12, from Shiregreen, added: “The doing play like you want to is the best.“

Laura Watkins, chair of Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, said: “We are are committed to supporting play in this area and the playground also has children from all over the city accessing these opportunities because there are so few places that they can go to where they can freely play.”

Vice-chair Patrick Meleady added: “Sheffield is fortunate to have outstanding community-run early years services and two excellent adventure playgrounds of long standing that serve daily some of the city’s most vulnerable children and families as well as those less vulnerable – all playing together and learning new skills as part of the rich, diverse Sheffield family which these provisions ensure live together in peace and harmony by creating better opportunities and outcomes for every child.”

“It is vital that we as a city prioritise and safeguard our community provisions and our children’s rights to play and to have safe and stimulating play environments that respect them and their play.

“Play is vital to their well-being and holistic development.”

Sheffield Brightside aqnd Hillsborough MP David Blunkett MP pledged his support for the campaign when he visited another fun day in July.

He presented certificates to local parents who had completed an introduction to play work course.

The users’ group at Highfield Adventures, which also faced cuts, managed to win lottery funding to stay open during the summer and is working with other community organisations to take over running the playground.