Lollard Street adventure Playground is a lively and dynamic space, where there is always lots going on. Play is an important element of any child’s life, and the playground offers the local community an accessible and safe free-play space where the activities are creative, educational and fun. The playground is located in the heart of North Lambeth which is one of the lowest 20 areas in the UK for child well-being: 21% live in extreme poverty, 34+% receive free school meals and over 25% of 10-11s are obese (Lambeth CYP Plan 2011-14). North Lambeth includes deprived neighbourhoods separated by stations, viaducts and busy roads – limiting outdoor play and fitness pursuit, particularly for children and young people.
“All children and young people need to play. the impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well-being of individuals and communities.” Playwork Principle 1
Historically, the children and young people of North Lambeth have been playing on this site since 1946. It used to be a school, which was bombed in World War 2, and then it became a popular play space for the local children. It was from seeing how children enjoyed playing on bombed-out building sites that people started to realise the need for young people to have and enjoy self-directed, risky play. This is where the Adventure Playground Movement started. Today, Lollard Street Adventure Playground provides free, adventure play sessions for children between 6–16 years of age. Our play sessions are spaces where children can create their own projects and environments, and be free to express themselves. The sessions are staffed by playworkers who help to provide stimulating settings, supporting children’s play rather than controlling it.
“Play helps children to understand the people and places in their lives, learn about their environment and develop their sense of community.” Charter for Children’s Play, Play England (2007)
In 2017, we delivered 182 play sessions – these ran throughout the school holidays and after school during term time. On average, we have seen between 50-70 children attend each play session regardless of the time of year, which goes to show that the children in this area really value the play space Lollard Street Adventure Playground provides, whatever the weather. The free play sessions include opportunities to climb, paint, cook, dig, fix and ride bikes, grow vegetables and fruits, build and generally be free to be kids. The 865 hours of free play we have offered has not only meant that the children have had more opportunities to be healthy and active, they have also been able to learn about and experience boundaries, thereby assessing and managing risk in their lives both physical and social. On top of this, the play sessions have also allowed the children to strengthen their relationships, especially the important ones between friends, carers and family members.
“Well, without ‘adventure’ I wouldn’t have known so many people within our community. I would have seen them pass by, but I wouldn’t actually know who they really are. and that is why I enjoy coming to ‘adventure’, it enables me to be around people, get to know them and have fun experiencing things that you can’t at home in front of the tv.” Young person at the adventure playground
The playground has been running for 4 years now and each year it has grown and flourished. Since the Kennington Association took over the management of the playground, it has been a real joy to see the project develop from its desolate beginnings as an abandoned playground (Lambeth Council having closed it in 2011) to a community project that has over 1000 children and young people registered with it. The project relies solely on grants and donations so the support that you can give will go straight into making sure this valuable community play space stays open and free for all the community. Here are some of the ways your donations will make a difference to this project. - To run one after-school play session with trained staff members it costs £350. -We continually need new resources to keep the project exciting and unique for the children so donations will be used to purchase new equipment such as sports equipment, trampolines and specialist play equipment. - We are just beginning to redevelop our small, old, run down building into a new community play building which will be able to be used by the wider community. We currently have 80% of the funds for the first phase of the building so we only need another 20% to get started. Please do contact us if you would like to support a building project.