It’s only natural to boost play for kids

Clowning achievement: Kids try out the new facilities at Becket Road play area in Lowedges, with a little help from a colourful friend.

Clowning achievement: Kids try out the new facilities at Becket Road play area in Lowedges, with a little help from a colourful friend.

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DELIGHTED youngsters have been trying out upgraded play facilities which are being installed across Sheffield neighbourhoods after the city struck lucky with a bid for a £450,000 National Lottery grant.

Children living around Becket Road play area at Lowedges were among the first to have their facilities revamped and were welcomed by colourful characters including a clown.

It follows a successful bid by Sheffield Wildlife Trust, in conjunction with Sheffield Homes, Sheffield Council and Sheffield University, to refurbish 30 play areas managed by Sheffield Homes over the next three years.

The partnership has secured £450,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to spend redeveloping the sites across the city to install new equipment and create ‘natural play’ areas where plants and trees provide the background for physical and creative challenges.

Some of the funding will pay for two posts at Sheffield Wildlife Trust, who will work with Sheffield Homes to plan community consultation activities, park designs and project plan the improvements to the play sites.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Sheffield is famous for its fantastic green spaces, and it is great news that we’ve secured this funding to give some of the city’s parks a new lease of life.

“Nothing is more important than giving children in every area of the city a good start in life, and good quality parks, play equipment and activities are a vital part of this.

“I look forward to seeing the improvements.”

Helen Woolley, from the Department of Landscape at Sheffield University, said: “Improving the quality of these outdoor green spaces with the communities who will use them is an important part of helping to improve the quality of life for Sheffield Homes’ residents.”

Roy Mosley, head of land management at Sheffield Wildlife Trust, added: “This exciting and innovative project should bring real benefits to communities by enhancing open spaces through high quality design in a way that’s sympathetic to nature.

“This project will contribute to our city-wide Living Landscape initiative which includes the aim of strengthening connections between people and the natural environment.”

Jason Siddall, Sheffield Homes’ maintenance manager, said: “The success of this bid has also been down to the hard work and dedication of tenants and residents already involved in the Sheffield Homes Play Project.

The funding will allow us to carry out further consultation and work with local people to develop and deliver improved outdoor spaces.”

Residents can find out more about the play scheme project by calling Sheffield Homes on 0114 2930000, in the north of the city, or 0114 205 3333 in the south, email enquiries@sheffieldhomes.org.uk or visit www.sheffieldhomes.org.uk.

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