- Play is an essential part of every child’s life and is vital for their development . It provides the mechanism for children to explore the world around them and a medium through which skills are developed and practised.
- In play, children learn by doing. Through experimenting with their growing mental and physical abilities, children learn and gain in skills and confidence. Part of this learning process is through their mistakes and on occasions these mistakes will result in injury.
- As a general principal children need an element of risk on play areas. It is essential to their healthy growth and development. It is preferable for them to learn about risk, about their own capabilities and to develop the mechanism for judging it in controlled settings: for example play areas. Play areas carry a variety of levels of challenge and difficulty. Not all children develop at the same rate and they can make an unrealistic assessment of their abilities or become over confident. Precautions such as safer surfacing will reduce the severity of injuries if the children make the wrong judgement but the total reduction of injuries on play areas is an unrealistic expectation that some parents have.
- The provision of protective surfacing is not mandatory nor will its use stop all playground injuries but where installed, it conforms to European Standards. It is designed to reduce the severity of head injuries especially to toddlers. At present approximately a third of the Play areas have safer surfacing beneath all their equipment. Of the remainder, some if not most of the equipment has safer surfacing beneath.
- Due to the age of parts of the City, there are some older items of equipment that could do with replacing but due to budgetary constraints and the amount spent on vandalism it is not always possible. In the 2001/02 financial year, in the region of £60,000.00 was spent on repairs to vandalised equipment. It is likely this vandalism is caused by older users. To address this problem we are beginning to install equipment more suitable for these users needs such as football/basket ball courts and shelters in suitable areas.
- Play areas in new developments are designed and built by the developer. These are handed over to us once approved and conforming to current European standards.
The play areas are inspected on a regular basis and by more than one source:
- Recorded monthly inspection by the Play Area Team
- Annual inspection by a certified organisation such as RoSPA
Despite this, problems may arise in between inspections. We are grateful to the public for bringing them to our attention, which are dealt with promptly. Contact email@example.com
Equality Act 2010(c.20)
Prior to the 1st October 2004 all suppliers of services, be they charged or free, were obliged to make “reasonable adjustments” to physical features on all of their services to be as accessible as possible to people of all abilities.
Given the number of play areas under Council care it could not be seen as reasonable to address all of the issues at once. To be realistic, the resources available to the Council are not sufficient to do anything other than manage the current Play areas.
In some cases this management can involve removal of some equipment, as and when it comes to the end of it’s safe maintainable life span. The Council can at that time address it’s responsibility under the Equalities Act and identify any features, which prevent full access to the equipment. This can done in one of four ways under the act:
- Remove the feature.
- Alter it so that it no longer has that effect.
- Provide a reasonable means of avoiding the feature.
- Provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service in question available to disabled persons.