UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 10 June 2016 00:00
Something tasty is on the menu at the UK’s oldest playground – and it’s all down to the hard work, leadership and application of its young users
Thanks to a Risk Agency project, 14 South Londoners have picked up tools and put their skills into action to add value to Lollard Street Adventure Playground.
The playground, the UK’s oldest, was shut down in 2012 as a result of austerity cuts that left Lambeth Council unable to run the site itself. Lollard Street’s future looked bleak until local charity the Kennington Association stepped in: this precious community resource reopened under its management in October 2013 and has gone from strength to strength. After much hard work by the Association, the playground has been equipped with several new play structures and is more popular than ever.
The latest addition to the site is a “pizzeria”. Soon to be home to the playground’s very own wood-fired oven, the Pizzeria will create a much sought after outdoor cooking and community space. Built and designed in just five days by the 14-strong team of 10-16-year-olds, the structure has been turning the heads of local youngsters and builders alike.
Risk Agency is a charity set up by award-winning company Adventure Playground Engineers to give young people the opportunity to build their skills, health and confidence by leading construction projects in their own neighbourhoods.
Huan Rimington, Risk Agency’s founder and a former apprentice himself, said: “Today, too many young people are denied the skills, experiences and connections needed to access work. This project is just one example of what young people can achieve given the right opportunity. I’m looking forward to sampling the results!”
Here’s what the young people and Lollard Street staff said about the project:
“I’ve never done building before. It was a great experience and I’m so happy with what we’ve achieved. I’m now going to recommend that the playground’s ‘girls’ night’ starts running building projects, too.”
Chelsea, aged 11
“It was amazing to see the kids pull up the four posts of the structure and reveal what they had made. Being given the freedom and responsibility to actually build something this big really meant a lot to the group.”
Philip White, senior playworker, Lollard Street Adventure Playground
Notes to editors
Risk Agency was set up in 2014 by award-winning company Adventure Playground Engineers (APES) in response to young people’s lack of meaningful opportunities to access the capital’s extensive construction industry. The charity turns the traditional apprenticeship model on its head by putting young people in control of bold and ambitious building projects. By taking the lead on real projects with Risk Agency’s support, users develop their vocational, professional and leadership skills, enabling them to fulfil their potential.
Lollard Street Adventure Playground has been run by local charity the Kennington Association since it reopened in October 2013. The site is open to 6-16-year-olds every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during term time (3:30pm-7pm) and every weekday during the school holidays (10.30am-4pm). The playground is currently recruiting trustees and volunteers to support its ongoing developments. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call Philip White on 020 7793 9592 or visit www.lollardstplay.org for further information.
Photos and interviews with the participants are available.
Huan Rimington, Risk Agency: 07515 024636
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