Helping to map out safe areas to play

Year 4 students of St. Josephs RC Primary School in Meadowell get a first look at their 'Play Map' which will allow them to build their own picture of safe areas to play in the area. Picture by North News & Pictures.
Year 4 students of St. Josephs RC Primary School in Meadowell get a first look at their 'Play Map' which will allow them to build their own picture of safe areas to play in the area. Picture by North News & Pictures.

Children on a North Shields estate have mapped out the safe areas to play this summer.

Research by the Cedarwood Trust showed children in Meadowell were not getting enough outside activity.

Now 17 volunteers have been trained as Play Champions to teach 200 children fun activities and are developing a Play Map to highlight the best and safest areas to play, thanks to a grant from the Port of Tyne.

The support from the Port has come through its Port of Tyne Community Action Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Phil McGrath, chief executive of Cedarwood Trust, said: “We have been talking to the Meadowell community for a while about what issues they faced. The main one that kept coming up was play.

“We started to look at what was around and what children did for entertainment. We were staggered by how little time children spent playing outside.

“The Play Map project, made possible through the Port of Tyne Community Action Fund grant, has enabled us to raise the profile of play on the estate and we have started to make a shift in the community’s attitudes towards children and young people who play outside.”

Pupils at St Joseph’s Primary School were among the first to benefit, enjoying traditional games such as tug of war, skipping, hide and seek, hopscotch and ball games.

Susan Wear, director of corporate affairs Port of Tyne, said: “The fund’s objective is to enrich the social and cultural life of communities and to help improve young people’s aspirations through learning and development.”

“The Meadowell Play Map project provides inspiration and it is good to see the impact the grant has already had on the children and the wider community.”

Mr McGrath added: “The work towards the Play Map has been a catalyst for change on the estate, beginning the conversations with residents about play and the need for play and how it encourages children to engage in healthy, physical and intellectual activity in the safe environment of their own community.”

Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation added:

“The Port of Tyne care about the community in which it operates and through their Fund at the Community Foundation we can support projects such as the Cedarwood Trust, which focuses on improving the quality of life and life chances, particularly for children and young people in our North Tyneside.

“Through our corporate funds at the Community Foundation we’re able to empower local business to play a vital role in creating stronger communities, supporting people to overcome disadvantage and helping to make our region a great place to live.”