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By East Finchley Community Trust
We want to turn Market Place Playground, a shabby but much used community resource, into a natural playground with new, inclusive and challenging play equipment.
Market Place has been a playground since the 1960s but though the community has grown and changed, the site hasn't - it has been neglected and came under threat of development in 2020. Surrounded by high density, mostly gardenless housing and used by three nearby schools, the playground is much in demand but not fit for purpose. Our community survey showed users want Market Place to be greener, a social hub and provide a variety of more and better play equipment. This equipment needs to be suitable for all ages - at the moment children outgrow the site by age seven. Children with additional needs are also not currently served. Our plan is to make Market Place a natural playground with challenging and inclusive equipment that will support motor skills, core strength, muscle development and social skills. Sited within new green landscaping, which provides nature, shade and cleaner air, the equipment will be crucial for promoting local children's physical and mental health.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
High quality equipment for climbing, swinging, balancing, running and sliding will give under-18s access to regular exercise. We have 1,700 pupils in local schools with above average additional needs & EAL (English as an additional language) cohorts. 40% of our growing community lives in flats. East Finchley is below average for park & play provision in the borough. Pandemic recovery: Local schools tell us children’s physical development was damaged by during lockdown with 40% of reception children behind targets. Core strength and fine/gross motor skills were particularly affected. Equipment that addresses these needs is included in our design. Serve secondary age children’s needs: equipment in the new design is specifically intended to be inclusive, challenging and for all ages up to 18. Physical activity strongly correlates with mental health - recent research showed three weekly bouts of exercise reduced teenage depression by one third.
Steps to get it done:
Here are some excerpts from the 100+ supportive comments in our Planning Submission: “This is an excellent proposal designed to fix a longstanding deficiency in the provision of facilities for young children and their parents/guardians….(it) will bring real health benefits at a time when other public assets, such as swimming pools, are under threat.” “This scheme introduces a wide range of natural features, recreational opportunities, seating and trees which will not only allow children greater creative play opportunities but will create a new park for the wider East Finchley community in an area of open space deficit and relative deprivation.” Natural play is very important for urban children. As Unicef says: "green spaces serve to reduce the health inequities suffered by socio-economically disadvantaged children". Natural climbing features provide more challenge and the site will be usable year round with new trees providing shade, reducing the current urban heat island effect.
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How will the money be spent?Total £14,465
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