Kids - tell us what you'd like in the park

March 02 2020
Kids - tell us what you'd like in the park

News from the Friends of Eastville Park

ANYONE cooped up in the house during the recent storms knows the value of a good play area in the park. My own small boys have been running through the house playing ninjas, dragons, bears, and goodness knows what else their imagination invents, desperate to burn off some energy and use their bodies while storm Dennis howls wind, batters trees and lashes rain outside. I can’t wait to get them outside in their water proofs and back into the park for all our sanity!

Study after study shows that the young develop both strong bodies and resilient minds when they spend time outside in nature, testing their confidence and practising risky-play by climbing at height, balancing, running, jumping, swinging and sliding. They meet other kids and practice their social skills, often with children they don’t often see at school or in their own neighbourhood. Play is truly the work of children. Sadly, as cars have taken over the streets, children are often left to play inside on technology. When they do get out, it’s either in small city gardens or parks, which has made these places extra special as an antidote to our anxiety-laden, hectic modern lives.

Eastville Park play area has not had a lot of love since the mid-90’s, when the previous batch of play equipment was installed. Now, with peeling paint and a lack of facilities for older children, the Friends of Eastville park are working with the council and local community to change that. The park was awarded £108,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy funds last year to complement £22,000 of match funding from a combination of project underspend and donations from the festival goers to Love Saves the Day and Tokyo World.

Some of the funding has already been spent by installing replacement climbing equipment and a slide, but there is still work to do. Little children are well catered for, but bigger kids are still heading for Oldbury Court park, which is a fair trek from Eastville. We are gathering your suggestions to form the basis of the tendering process the council goes through to spend the funding. A description of what you want will go out to play companies who will bid their ideas.

So let’s hear it from the kids! If you are aged between 8-16 (or know someone who is) then we want to hear from you. What would you like to see in Eastville Park? Tell us online, send a picture by email to friendsofeastvillepark@gmail.com, ask your friends and message us, or post to our Facebook page (I know, Facebook is for oldies, but humour us on this occasion).

We’ve had some feedback already: something big to climb on, a climbing wall, monkey bars, team swings, a Parkour-style trim trail, zip line and seating. Our committee team is bringing pictures into schools like Glenfrome and Fishponds Academy, youth clubs and putting them on social media. Please help us by sharing this article, talking about what options you like best and letting us know. Then we can be sure to spend wisely to get the best mix of play equipment for you!

Sarah West

Chair, Friends of Eastville Park