Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.Jess Lair
We have over 10 years of first-hand experience of adventure play leading to healthier, happier and more independant children.
We aim to provide an environment where children can learn new social skills, take risks and innovate and where they can feel empowered by taking ownership of their environment. Throughout the year we run social events which bring children and parents together in a supportive environment where play comes first and a sense of community is shared by all. We provide a space for families to reconnect and bond with each other and with other families.
We also run away-days which give children opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have, to explore new places and develop skills which are important foundations for adulthood.
As a centre promoting outdoor activity we provide a space away from electronic screens where young people can connect with each other and the environment through play. We do not provide wi-fi but instead encourage young people to engage with our allotment and our nature reserve area.
We are currently developing our own policies around Environmental Sustainability and have encouraged the growth of a nature club. Our goal is to lead by example but we have been inspired by the values our young people already have towards environmental protection.
If you would like to learn more about what we are doing, the young nature club or think you could contribute, please feel free to contact us.
The zipwire was completed just before COVID hit - not a great start to our anniversary year! Don't worry, celebrations aren't cancelled, we just have even more time to plan!
It was tough for the whole country but we have been amazed to see how the community came together to support each other and the NHS. What stood out for us was how important children have been in raising spirits - through rainbows in windows, messages of hope written in chalk, to friendly (but distant!) greetings on daily walks.
We really want to give something back to the children who helped their communities and the best thing we can think of is to continue to provide a space which is just for them.
The Playwork team starts to work with the children to put together a programme of activities to celebrate our tenth anniversary. The Trust recruits Ann Cleeves, internationally renowned author of the Vera book series (amongst others) as Patron for the playground and converts to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
The rotten uprights are removed from the big swing and after more consultation with the children leading the decisions, the swing area is redesigned and work begins on the improvements.
The Playground receives funding from the Ballinger Trust to develop a new play structure. After consultation with the Young People, the most popular idea is a zip-wire! Work stalls when some uprights on the big swing are condemned as unsafe.
The allotment area, pigsty and enclosures are completed and we welcome Nancy and Mavis, our two Kunekune pigs.
Work begins on re-aligning our allotment beds and preparing the ground for a pigsty and enclosures. The Heritage Lottery Project comes to a succesful close with the chidren involved in producing a film charting the history of Adventure Playgrounds in North Tyneside. The Trust is registered as a Charity. The Playground is inspected once again by Play England and is again successful in gaining 'Quality in Play' status (valid until 2022).
The Playwork team travels to the National Playwork Conference in Eastbourne to deliver a very well received workshop on 'Building Relationships with Children'. The Playground receives Heritage Lottery funding to train a group of children as young researchers to explore the history of Adventure Playgrounds in North Tyneside. The highlight of this project involves the children travelling to London to visit the V&A Museum of Childhood where they are shown around the archive by the curator. The Playground is also successful in winning the London Play Award for 'The Best Adventure Playground Outside of London'.
The Playground takes on three Playwork apprentices and they successfully complete their NVQ Level 3 in Playwork. On the Playground, work is completed on the big tree house which includes a climbing net and a lookout tower.
The Veranda is completed and officially opened by our local MP. Budget cuts result in the closure of North Tyneside Play Service but the Adventure Playground survives and its management is transferred to the Outdoor Sports and Leisure department. The Trust is strengthened and begins to look into becoming a charity.
The Playground is succesful in acheiving 'Quality in Play' status. After consultation with the children, we identify the next area for development as a permanent veranda structure at the rear of the Centre. The Trust applies to **North Tyneside's Youth Capital Fund** for this and is succesful in the bid.
The Trust becomes a Company Limited by Guarantee and is successful in gaining significant funding from the Social Action Fund to encourage voluntary work in the Playground. This enables the Trust to begin employing local people as Playworkers and helps to embed the ethos of volunteering into the work that is done with the children. The Playground begins to develop an action plan aimed at acheiving 'Quality in Play status'.
The Playground works in partnership with Play England on an ambitious 'Love Outdoor Play' project which helps us to develop an allotment area and a nature pond complete with a dry stone wall enclosure in two of the 'unfinished' areas of the Playground.
The Playground opens in the summer and is immediately popular. Large areas are deliberately left 'unfinished' to allow child-led development of the site as it grows. The Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust is formed by a group of local parents and others interested in Adventure Play provision and begin fundraising to enhance the work of the Play team.
North Tyneside Council Play Department recruits a Playground Manager and three full-time Playworkers. This team then spends a year working in Shiremoor to develop relationships with children, parents, carers, neighbours and other professionals. There is a lot of consultation with children and stakeholders to ensure that there is community ownership of the Playground, before the first digger arrives. Work begins on the Brenkley Avenue site.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families announced an investment of £235 million over a three year period to build or improve 3,500 local authority play areas. Part of this funding package is earmarked for 43 'Play Pathfinder' local authorities, tasked with making play areas more exciting. The sceme also includes funding for thirty supervised or staffed Adventure Playgrounds in areas of social deprivation. North Tyneside Council is successful in gaining funding toward the Shiremoor Adventure Playground.