The Royal Parks charity is calling for North West Londoners to join forces and raise £100,000 to create a natural playground so children of all abilities can play together in the beautiful setting of The Regent’s Park.
Many thousands of children have played together in the existing Gloucester Gate playground since it opened in the 1930s in the north eastern corner of the park. But the much-loved facility is now in need of a revamp after decades of enthusiastic play by youngsters. The equipment is dated and the site is in need of an inspired transformation.
The Royal Parks is fundraising to build a state-of-the-art playground focused on accessibility with innovative features that will enable children of all ages and abilities to play together with their families, friends and guardians, in a nature-inspired setting that blends with the park landscape.
The Royal Parks needs £1 million to create the new ‘playscape’, much of which will be raised through grants and large donations. But the charity is now working with local residents, visitors and businesses to raise a £100,000 portion of this in order to meet the final target, so that work to build the playground can go ahead in 2019.
If people would like to donate they can do so by visiting www.royalparks.org.uk/playscape.
Erin Moore, writer and mother of Anne, 7 and Henry, 3, said: “The Regent’s Park is one of our family’s favourite places to run around in, and we have so many happy memories there. It’s where our daughter first discovered her shadow and learned to ride a bicycle.
“My kids and I are really excited about the possibility of a brand new playground where they could have a real adventure in nature and play with their friends. To get active and be healthy, city kids need great parks, and with a new playground at Gloucester Gate, a trip to The Regent’s Park will be even greater for it.”
The final design incorporates and enhances the undulating landscape of St Katharine’s Glade around the playground and makes use of natural materials such as wood, rope and bark.
The new site has been carefully designed to encourage collaborative play by allowing children to explore and discover – incorporating structures that let them scramble, climb and balance with spaces for storytelling and rest, so that children can play together with their friends and families no matter what their ability or age.
The Royal Parks would like to encourage more children to spend time playing outdoors and connect with nature by creating a space that inspires the imagination and sets the scene for the memories of many generations to come.
As such it will be a big departure from the existing playground which was focused on ‘prescribed activity’ such as swings, slides and roundabouts – leaving little scope for social or imaginative play and creating barriers for less-able children.
Nick Biddle, Park Manager at The Regent’s Park, said: “Our vision is to transform Gloucester Gate playground into a wonderful new space that encourages imaginative, physical and social play in tune with nature - and we need your help to do this. We’re incredibly grateful for any donation via our web site or by text.
“The Gloucester Gate site holds many memories of play for locals over the last century – with children starting to play there as early as the Second World War when the site was a bomb site.
“And we want to build on this heritage of play and create future memories for the next generation of children, by providing a purpose-built new playground that will bring together communities and children of all ages and abilities.”