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!”