2020 AP Award winners

Risk benefit assessment in practice

Islington plays forever

 

Three winning London adventure playgrounds that went to extraordinary lengths to keep children playing – and in some cases, fed too – during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Max Roach Adventure Playground

As lockdown hit, the team at Max Roach Adventure Playground began a meal and fun delivery service called Happy Lunch Play. Play workers arrived by bicycle at children’s homes with smiles, healthy packed lunches and play resources – providing a lifeline to families shut indoors.

“The children and team at Max Roach are elated to have be selected for the award of London Adventure Playground of the year 2020, alongside two other fabulous adventure playgrounds,” said Candice James. “During these extra-ordinary times, the team were able to bring play to children both in the centre and to their homes. Working with some of the most disadvanged children within our community, play has been fundamental to children’s recovery from the impact of the pandemic. It’s a wonderful testimony to all our staff, volunteers and trustees that worked passionately, before and during the pandemic, to adapt and provide a play service for the needs of local children.”

 

Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground

Even as the government dragged its feet on publishing guidance for summer playschemes, the team at Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground were advancing plans of how to reopen safely and all the while, connecting with their young adventurers online. Playful videos shared via Young Hackney’s online youth hub kept the adventure play spirit alive, with staff never passing up an opportunity to make fun of themselves.

“We are all so excited here at Hackney Marsh to have found out that we won alongside two other amazing playgrounds in Lambeth,” said senior playworker Angela Day. “We have strived forward with planning and changing methods to ensure no circumstances stop or rob our children of the right to play.  Looking back at the summer and our initial research and plans to open the adventure playground again seem all but a blur but we are here, we are open and still doing what we do best, allowing children the opportunity to get out and play freely.”

Agnes, aged 6, said she thought Hackney Marsh won because:

“It’s such a fun place. Everyday there’s something different here.”

 

Triangle Adventure Playground

At Lambeth’s Triangle Adventure Plagyround, one of the oldest adventure playgrounds in the capital – lockdown saw staff immediately turn their hand to broadcasting daily online play sessions – from toilet roll keepy-uppy challenges to daytime raves. Once open again for limited groups in the summer, the joy of children returning ‘home’ to their playground was captured in their vibrant film.

“After the difficulties of this year all of the Triangle APG family are very proud to be crowned APG of the year,” said deputy senior playworker Gabriel Green. “We worked very hard to support our young people during lockdown both online and reopening site for summer as soon as we could. Big thanks to all our young people, families, community, supporters and donors. And we are even more proud to share the award with Max Roach and Hackney, two great adventure playgrounds!”

London Play Press Releases
Three London adventure playgrounds that went to extraordinary lengths to keep children playing – and in some cases, fed too – during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were yesterday announced as joint winners of the coveted London Adventure Playground of the Year Award
London Play events
The London Adventure Play Awards recognise and celebrate great adventurous play - wherever it happens. Deadline for entries: Monday 03 October 2022. Awards event: Thursday 27 October 2022.

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Risk benefit assessment in practice
October 2016


Play professionals are well versed in taking a risk-benefit approach to assessing a play environment. But how does this stand up in case of an injury claim? Hackney Play Association recently found out.

A child suffered an injury to her fingers as a result of trapping them in a door during a game that children had invented, during an open access play session.  HPA successfully contested the claim for injury to fingers on the basis of Risk-Benefit Assessment, Nicola Butler, Chair of Hackney Play Association reports on the Play Safety Forum website that the case has been closed as the claimant has withdrawn their claim.

During the legal correspondence a number of issues were raised, in which we had to argue our case based on RBA. These included:

  • Whether our staff should have allowed the children to play a game that the children had made up themselves, which the children called ‘Scare Chase’
  • Whether our staff ratio and supervision of the children was adequate.

We argued that the answers to both of these questions was ‘yes’ based on Risk-Benefit Assessment, playwork training and the Playwork Principles.

When we provided the copy of Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide, and explained that this was the national guidance for play providers endorsed by a wide range of key stakeholders, including the Health & Safety Executive, this proved pivotal in persuading our insurers (Zurich) to contest the claim (and not to settle out of court).

When we provided the copy of Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide, and explained that this was the national guidance for play providers endorsed by a wide range of key stakeholders, including the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), this proved pivotal in persuading our insurers (Zurich) to contest the claim (and not to settle out of court).

We were also able to evidence that our policies, procedures and staff training were based on Risk-Benefit Assessment. Another key document was our Health & Safety Policy that sets out the importance of children being able to take risks in their play and states explicitly that we use RBA.

For the full article go to the Play Safety Forum website.

Play Safety Forum website.
Children and young people
New primary school assessment processes introduced in 2016 risked narrowing of the curriculum and ‘teaching to the test’, as well as affecting teacher and pupil wellbeing negatively..
Adventure play
Adventure playgrounds are highlighted as one of the top 'needs' for young people in this London-focused research.
 

Islington plays forever Summer 2012


Islington plays forever
Summer 2012


The children of Islington know that their 12 adventure playgrounds will not only always be there for them to play in, but also for their children and grandchildren – and so on in perpetuity. The funding to support them is also assured until at least 2015. So while elsewhere in London people were threatening to chain themselves to the railings to protect their beloved playgrounds from demolition – how did Islington go about successfully securing a future for play?

Islington is known for its commitment to play – indeed the need to preserve and promote play opportunities in a borough which has the second least amount of open space per person in the country is particularly acute. Redressing the balance, the borough boasts more adventure playgrounds per head of population than any other London borough apart from Lambeth. Of its 12 adventure playgrounds, six are run by voluntary groups and the other six by the council. It also boasts a strong play association in the form of Islington Play.

The review board

Early in 2011, the council recognised that in order to maintain its commitment to play in the face of significant budgetary pressures, it would need to take a more strategic approach to providing its adventure playgrounds. An adventure play review project board was convened in April 2011 to support the development of a sustainable future plan. Indicative of the high level, cross-cutting nature of support for play across the borough, the board included representatives from both council and voluntary run playgrounds, public health, large voluntary organisations in the borough and various strategic leads from within the council including those with expertise in property and finance.

The group met eleven times over the space of a year to consider a huge amount of material and evidence gathered during the review period, including through data profiling, research and consultations. Play strategy and inclusion development manager Christine Lehmann explains: “Through this we were able to establish, for example, that some of the most vulnerable children in Islington were proportionally over-represented among those who attend the playgrounds.” It was this sort of evidence which helped persuade the council that revenue funding should be maintained at current levels, she says. It also agreed to stick to the principle of providing adventure play which is free for children at the point of access…

Download the pdf below to continue reading.

Islington plays forever
Children and young people
New primary school assessment processes introduced in 2016 risked narrowing of the curriculum and ‘teaching to the test’, as well as affecting teacher and pupil wellbeing negatively..
Children and young people
This report, by the Child Poverty Action Group and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looks at what  families need to provide a minimum socially acceptable standard of living for their children.

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