Supporting community-led projects to help your local area recover from the COVID-19 crisis
On a vacant site off Tarling Road, East Finchley, lies the former Old Barn Community Centre and disused external play area. The proposal aims to transform the dysfunctional outer space into Barnets first sensory playground and garden. It will be accessible to children with different levels of ability, and will be a special feature of the Barnet local offer, supporting local nurseries, playgroups and voluntary organisations and families. Consultations in the area have consistently shown a need for play facilities and green space. The site also falls in a Big Local area, meaning it has been identified as an area of need, with a notable proportion of people who are socio-economically deprived. Plans for the redevelopment are still being finalised, meaning that the final space available for the park is still under discussion and this impacts on the equipment that can be installed. We have built in contingency to ensure we can deliver the playground in the final space available.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
- It creates and encourages a creative environment for children. - The new playground will be for everyone - It will have varying levels of accessibility - Promotes understanding different ways of interaction. - Brings back into use an abandoned community asset. - Creates a special defining feature to a community hub. - Encourages and supports businesses/entrepreneurs in the area through increased footfall. - Strengthens community involvement through the community helping to plant the garden and being involved in other areas of the project. The space will work: 1. As a playground for children of all abilities 2. As a garden area both for children and adults of all abilities The layouts of the space could be designed around the flows and interaction with garden/ specific playground products or, the space could be creatively designed / manufactured and the products customised to fit that creative vision. Looking for creative locals to get involved of all ages/abilities.
Steps to get it done:
It was initially inspired by the state of abandonment of the Old Barn Community Centre and the glimmer of opportunity to see the community hub restored and the playground back in use and better than before. I was further motivated by the lack in stimulating outdoor spaces for children with additional needs and envisaged that if the space were to be fully utilised, it could represent a chance to provide a truly unique space, creative, functional, engaging and accessible to a wide range of abilities.Encouraged by personal experiences, I understand how many families can find conventional playgrounds overwhelming and sometimes dangerous, and desire for a beautiful, charming and creative haven to play safely. This project aims to explore discovery through the 5 senses and merge the safe-haven with playspace and community function. The aspiration is to be as animated and interactive as possible, avoiding dead spaces. The community will even have the chance to name the playground.
About the space
Former Old Barn Community Centre
London Borough of Barnet