Children help design playground of their dreams in Rothesay Gardens

A group of young-looking lumber jacks have been getting to grips with logging as they help design the playground of their dreams for Honicknowle’s Rothesay Gardens.

Youngsters at three schools will be building bridges, log stripping and helping to build log play equipment during a series of sessions this week with play contractors, Earthwrights.

Children at Shakespeare Primary, St Peter’s Roman Catholic Primary and Brooke Green Centre for Learning will be casting an expert eye on the ideas which have already been put together through consultation activities with local residents.

The £12,000 improvements are funded through Stepping Stones to Nature and the Big Green Space Challenge Fund – a scheme that awarded funds for natural landscaping projects to improve where people live. The challenge is funded by the Langage Landscape Fund, which has come from the development of the Langage Energy Centre at Plympton by Centrica and is a joint initiative between South Hams District Council, Plymouth City Council and Natural England. Schemes within 10km of the power station were considered.

In Plymouth a number of groups are also receiving financial support through the scheme. They include:

* Friends of Tothill Park – £15,000 for ornamental cherry and apple trees
* Friends of Freedom Fields – £15,000 for a new avenue of trees and another planned
* Efford Valley – £10,000 for bird and bat boxes, planting spring bulbs as well as planting cherries, oak trees, weeping willows
* Ford Park cemetery – £10,000 for planting Cyprus pines and beech hedges
* Lancaster Gardens – £3,000 for orchard and natural play area
* Friends of Hartley Park – £7,000 for tree and spring bulb planting

Other projects are also in the pipeline.

Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “The young people are the ones who are going to be using this play area so these sessions are a great way to make sure we are on the right track – and for them to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

“All these groups are doing sterling work to improve where they live and show that by working co-operatively we can make a real difference to our parks, nature reserves and woodlands, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, friends groups as well as projects such as Stepping Stones to Nature. People are helping to improve where they live, which is exactly what we want to see."

Councillor Bill Hitchins, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for the natural environment, said: “This is just what we want to see – communities such as schools taking up this excellent opportunity to get together and improve their neighbourhoods."