New swing for The Pleasance play space

A new basket swing has been installed at The Pleasance in Putney and is already being enjoyed by the local community.

The swing was officially unveiled this week by Councillor Sutters, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces, and Enable Leisure and Culture’s Ian Mitchell, along with representatives of Enable Leisure and Culture’s parks team, London Play and Dover House Play Space Group.

With no other playground within a mile radius, this play space is especially important to local people. A recent feedback survey as part of Dover House Play Space showed that over 70% of respondents visited the space at least once a week. Furthermore, the main reason given for visiting The Pleasance was to take children to play.

After the initial bespoke natural play equipment was installed in 2013, the original swing was taken down in November 2017 as a result of the structure becoming unsafe. At the time of the initial installation there was very little choice of “off the shelf” timber play equipment deemed appropriate for this location, so bespoke equipment was installed to suit the special surroundings in a sympathetic manner. As natural untreated woods rots quicker in damp shady conditions, the nature of The Pleasance, which is a particularly shady site,meant that it was always understood that the life span of the bespoke equipment was more limited than other more traditional play equipment. By 2017 it had become apparent that a process of renewal needed to be initiated, beginning with the swing.

On behalf of Wandsworth Council, Enable Leisure and Culture worked closely with the local community, building on their previous collaboration to get the playground installed, to put forward a funding bid to Postcode Community Trust to address the immediate issue of the swing.

Postcode Community Trust – a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery – awarded the project £7,375, to run 10 nature community nature play sessions for local children and to fund the installation of a new swing. The nature play sessions were formulated with the help of the Dover House Play Space and delivered by London Play between September and October 2018. This included activities such as mini beast hunts, den building and seed planting. The objective of these play sessions was to engage younger users with their local natural environment.

Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for community services and outdoor spaces, Councillor Steffi Sutters said: “We’re very happy that the successful bid to the Postcode Community Trust, put together with the support of the local community, has resulted in this fantastic new swing for local children.

“The Pleasance is a real local gem, and we will be looking to see what other improvements we can make there.”

With recent developments in natural materials being used in the design and construction of children’s play spaces, the new timber swing manages to still be sympathetic to the unique landscape of The Pleasance, whilst also being treated and installed in such a way that it will last much longer for local children to enjoy than the previous swing. The installation of this more durable swing marks the beginning of the future for The Pleasance play space and highlights the possibilities for this natural play space.

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