Over 300 people were strictly focused on fun this weekend raising an impressive £700 towards local inclusive summer play opportunities at the KIDS Adventure Playground Hackney.
Families shook their maracas to the Pantonic Steel Orchestra, enjoyed pond dipping with the Love the Lea campaigners and dived into the dressing up boxes to re-emerge as princesses, pirates and superheroes. Children were closely followed by their parents and carers in a rush to play on the swings, slides and in the tree house, sand pit and ball pool.
Young adventurers set off in search of the ‘Supervillain’ and his hidden treasure as part of a play trail around nearby Springfield Park and the Lea Valley Nature Reserve; encouraging families to interact with their local environment and natural play resources in Hackney. A group of plucky play workers and families also took part in a sponsored 5km fun run raising money for much-needed local inclusive summer play opportunities.
KIDS Adventure Playground Hackney, situated behind Springfield Park, is an adventure playground designed for disabled children and young people from Hackney and the surrounding boroughs aged 6-25 years old. It provides a secure and stimulating inclusive environment where they can have supported access to a wide range of structured and unstructured activities.
Claira Scott-Gray, Play Manager of KIDS Adventure Play Hackney commented:
“It’s been lovely to open up the playground for friends and local families to give everybody the chance to mix, see and understand the work that we do here in Hackney. It was good for our registered families to be able to bring their children to a family day where they knew that they would be welcomed and supported and that aspects of their children’s behaviour – that can be difficult in a more public setting and can bring approbation in an open play park – would be understood and not judged by others here
“Everyones response to the playground shows how vital it is us to have these experiences and we have to remember they are not always easily available for disabled children and young people. It is a challenging time financially at the playground and we need to maintain and build on existing services.”
Daniel Jones, 17, has attended KIDS Adventure Play Hackney since he was 7 years old.
“It’s good to come today,” he said. “It brings me such good memories of going on the swing and spending time with [playworker] Gareth, chatting about school and Countdown and singing Beatles songs. Other people should come here; they would have a brilliant time.”
Comments from parents attending the event were very positive. Fazela Zina said:
“He used to come home from the playground with paint on his clothes, dirt on his knees and sand in his shoes but at the end of the day I knew he was dirty and happy. He hasn’t been to the playground for three years, after he got too old, yet the staff still recognised him. For parents the staff are so important, I can trust them. His sister came too, she walked in and then I didn’t see her for the rest of the day, she had so much fun.”
A number of Hackney residents are involved in fundraising activities in aid of the playground’s ongoing appeal. For details visit http://www.kids.org.uk/Appeal/kids-adventure-play-hackney-appeal