Great news for Pitsmoor Adventure Playground
Yanina Koszalinski, chair of Pitsmoor AP, on the setting’s success in securing funds to deliver a new programme which benefitted the entire local community:
‘Funding for play can come from unusual sources. In 2014 Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, in the heart of Burngreave, received funding to promote fire safety and road safety with children and families that use the adventure playground, and with the wider community. Initial funding was £30,000 over two years from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s funding scheme, the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.
This was the beginning of a fruitful working relationship between Pitsmoor Adventure Playground and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the adventure playground has received further funding to continue the work.
Some of the outputs for the funding were not directly about play. A main focus of the funding was to increase safety in the home and signing families up for fitting smoke alarms, however this contact with families enabled us to raise our profile within the area and across Sheffield, with the bonus of gaining respect and recognition from the wider community.
In terms of play the funding has enabled playworkers to increase opportunities for children to engage in a whole range of activities set around the adventure playground’s fire pit. Our neglected fire pit area was improved and extended, enabling children to cook on the fire or simply a place to sit and chat in the warmth of glowing embers – who doesn’t enjoy doing just that!
Fire Officers visited the playground and chatted to children, breaking down barriers and answering questions about their work, even donating an old fire fighter’s uniform that the children (and staff) have enjoyed wearing.
Pitsmoor/Burngreave is close to Sheffield city centre, as such, roads bringing traffic from the suburbs into the city centre converge in the area, increasing traffic danger for local children. Many of the children that come to the adventure playground are from parts of the world that don’t have the same level of traffic passing through, therefore our playworkers use trips out as an opportunity for children to learn how to keep themselves safe while walking and using public transport. Under the road safety banner, the funding has enabled us to hold bicycle repair workshops, our own annual Tour de Pitsmoor events and safe cycling sessions.
Most recently the funding has enabled us to purchase reflective vests and wrist bands for children. This was launched at our Halloween party by Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Cllr Denise Fox, coinciding with the return of dark nights.
Steve Vinson, arson reduction officer at the fire service, said at the start of the project: “This new and exciting project will improve the basic understanding of fire and road safety for young people and their families in the hard to reach diverse communities within the Burngreave area.”
Pitsmoor Adventure Playground Manager, Patrick Meleady said: “We are really pleased that our project has won this funding. The project will work in partnership with local schools, children’s centres and youth projects, bringing safety awareness to the local community.” ‘