Evaluating play design in Sandwell

Along with expert panel member Alison Davies, we visited 15 new play areas in the borough, accompanied by a group of eight-year-olds to test out the new play experiences on offer. 

The children flew along the zip wires at Tipton’s Victoria Park and trialled the assault course at Harry Mitchell Park Smethwick.  They raced around West Bromwich's Oakwood Park and became intrepid explorers in Sheepwash Local Nature Reserve in Tipton. Keenan loved “climbing right to the top”, Chloe “found a monster” and Henna thought everything “was the most fun”.

The children took part in a photography mini-masterclass with professional photographer Oliver James, creating their own portraits and video shorts as part of a summer campaign to get other young people enjoying Sandwell’s new play spaces. Their photographs have been published in a leaflet and poster which are now in community outlets across the borough.

Meanwhile, we are discussing our evaluation and recommendations with Sandwell in the light of the recent halting of the national Play Pathfinder programme.

The campaign is organised by MADE and Sandwell MBC’s Play Service “Out-To-Play” team. Expert panel member, Alison Davis, is completing an evaluation of the first year of the Play Pathfinder.

Sandwell is investing millions of pounds on new play opportunities for children and young people, through government and Lottery funding, resulting in more than 28 new and refurbished play areas and one new adventure playground across the Borough.