The Town Council is publishing information on the benefits of its play areas on local children’s health and well-being, in addition to details about the Council’s commitment to the safety of its playgrounds.
Town Council Maintenance Operative and RoSPA safety operational inspector, Christian Letschka, carries out regular checks on the Town Council’s play areas, to ensure they are safe for use and meet specific safety standards and requirements.
With the success of the complete refurbishment of the play area in Western Road last year and major upgrades to playgrounds carried out this year – bringing them up to optimum standard – the play area inspector is also keen to issue information on the benefits of children using the playgrounds, supporting their development and health regardless of ability.
“For the last 150 years, children’s playgrounds have become a staple in local town planning and parents have routinely taken their children to local playgrounds to play,” said Mr Letschka. “This practice has become almost second nature and like all things we do without thought, we tend to forget why we do things this way.”
“This is why I am reminding residents of the importance of freely accessible local playgrounds and the clear benefits to the children using them. By significantly investing in Hailsham’s play areas, the Town Council aims to inspire children to get out and play, helping to create a healthier and happier community in the future.”
BENEFITS OF CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUNDS
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the international body that advises the safety standards of children’s playgrounds, has carried out extensive research into how playgrounds benefit children’s development and has concluded that there are three key skills which children develop in the playground that will assist them for the rest of their lives:
- Social interaction – learning how to share equipment, learning from copying other children and how to interact with other children forms a bedrock of the social skills needed to successfully interact with others later in life.
- Physical exercise – running around, climbing, etc. not only burns off energy but also helps children develop their muscles and cardiovascular system, their balance on uneven ground and their depth perception leading to healthier development and growth throughout their life.
- Problem solving – by far the most important skill a child will develop in a playground. From assessing a piece of equipment before tackling it (thus developing risk assessment skills), to learning from mistakes such as misplacing a foot, and the sense of accomplishment when successfully conquering a piece of equipment. Problem solving is a skill we all use throughout our lives and allowing children to develop their problem-solving skills early in a safe fun environment is an overwhelming benefit.
Mr Letschka added: “So next time you take your children down to the local play area, you can be reassured that it’s not just an afternoon activity to entertain your children, it’s a vital learning experience that will benefit them for their entire lives.”
PLAY AREAS MAINTAINED BY THE TOWN COUNCIL
Hailsham Town Council currently maintains play areas at the following sites:
- Battle Road (BN27 1UA)
- Stroma Gardens (BN27 3AZ)
- Quinnell Drive (BN27 1QN)
- South Road (BN27 3DG)
- Maurice Thornton Playing Field (BN27 2JZ)
INSPECTION OF PLAYGROUNDS & PLAY EQUIPMENT
All equipment on Council-maintained play areas conforms to strict health and safety guidelines and regular safety checks are carried out at the various play areas to ensure they are not damaged by vandalism or natural wear and tear, in addition to development work to improve the quality of play areas where necessary.
All inspections are documented and general site checks cover access, footpaths, signage, fences and other barriers, gates, benches, litter bins and surfacing. Furthermore, each item of play equipment is checked in relation to its supports, moving and static parts, seats, safety features, means of access and safety surfacing.
All findings are recorded and acted upon, and repairs are carried out urgently if necessary either in-house or via reputable contractors. Remedial action is taken as quickly as possible.
Additionally, litter, glass and any other debris are removed from the play areas daily.
Feedback on any problems you might incur within the play areas and the reporting of any damage is welcomed by the Town Council by calling 01323 841702 (during office hours) or by email.