A new imaginative Play Area opens in Bishop Street Housing Complex
On Saturday 28th November 2015 at 2 p.m. an tArdmhéara, Críona Ní Dhálaigh will officially open a newly designed and innovative community Play amenity area in Bishop Street Flat Complex in Dublin 8. This newly designed space offers children and young people in the local area, a new form of free play which has an emphasis on imagination and social interaction, rather than the traditional swings and slides.
The new play area has carefully planned installations including hills and mounds, a stage area and a giant blackboard and mud kitchen. There is ample space for wheeled play, street games and imaginative free play. The focal point of this amenity is the giant picnic table where many social interactions can take place, sitting or chatting or just enjoying the new space.
An tArdmhéara, Críona Ní Dhálaigh praised the new play area design and said, “I congratulate all involved in designing and facilitating this new play area in Bishop Street Complex. This is the first of six play projects whereby Dublin City Council creates and increases play opportunities within an imaginative redesigned space. It is great to see that local children have now got access to an area where play is possible, fun and safe. Tá súil agam go mbeidh siad ag súgradh anseo ó lá go lá.’
Debby Clarke, Dublin City Council Play Development Officer said about this project, “Dublin City has a child population of 69,957 children less than 12 years of age and 181,638 under 18. This presents the very real issue of access to quality playgrounds and open spaces throughout this city. Bishop Street new play area provides an alternative to standard fixed playgrounds which is inclusive and accessible and welcomed by the local community. This space provides an outdoor natural environment where children and young people can experience ‘free play’ activities and enjoy play for play’s sake.”
The redevelopment of Bishop Street play area is part of ‘Outside the Box’ project. This project is a new way of thinking about and facilitating play for children and young people living in Dublin City Council housing and flat complexes. This cost effective and innovative project re-imagines and redesigns local spaces and places for play where children can experience and enjoy self directed free play that supports their learning, growth and development.
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Notes to the Editor:
The Bishop Street project arose through a consultative process with staff from Dublin City Council and local residents, including children and young people from the local community. The project was funded by Dublin City Council and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The DCC Play Plan was launched in 2012. The plan is underpinned by UNCRC Article 31; the child’s right to play. The vision of the Dublin City Play Plan is that Dublin will be a child-friendly and playful city where children and young people can enjoy the right to play. ‘Outside the Box’ project involves re-imagining and redesigning spaces to facilitate play and will contribute greatly to the implementation of the play plan, in particular theme 2 within the plan which promotes a collaborative approach; Working together to ensure that Dublin is a child friendly and playful city.
Bishop Street Housing Complex Project:
This project was managed by Debby Clarke, Dublin City Council Play Development Officer in conjunction with Gerard Geoghegan, Dublin City Council Housing Department. The civil and engineering works were carried out by Silvabuilds and BA Steel. The innovative and organic approach by these companies in developing this playscape has been vital in developing a space that allows play to happen in a spontaneous and natural way.
Improvements to Bishop Street Play area include:
A large ‘blackboard’
A boat and island,
A stage area
A mud kitchen
Communal seating for family activities
Space for active/moving play is also facilitated through the creation of a kick about area and an avenue of obstacles to facilitate wheeled play.
The aim of this project is to:
Increase children and young people’s daily access to challenging outdoor physical active play opportunities by increasing the variety of play experiences currently available
Provide more inclusive and accessible opportunities for play and encourage children and young people’s integration through play
Provide spaces where children can engage in self directed free play which greatly enhances their social, emotional development, improves resilience and supports freedom of choice, decision making and independent mobility
Provide children and young people with enriched and varied play experiences which build on their ability to assess and take risks, develop resilience etc
Provide a space that can be shared by and address the needs of the wider community which creates a sense of belonging and enables children and young people to be active citizens in their local communities whilst also increasing adults awareness and understanding of children’s play.