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Reopened Leys adventure playground proves a huge hit
A PLAYGROUND brought back to life after being closed for more than two years has proved a hit in its first month.
Just weeks after reopening, the Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground has seen an average of 18 children visit every day after school.
And thanks to another £10,000 grant, it will open during half- term and offer a full schedule of activities through the summer holidays.
Chairman Kieran Watson said: “The amount of energy from the team is motivating.
“People coming in have been really positive and a lot of parents have expressed how good they think the place is looking.”
The playground in Blackbird Leys Road had provided a place for children to play for more than 30 years before it closed in December 2009 due to financial concerns. Committee members were turned down for a string of grant applications and in September 2011, Mr Watson told the Oxford Mail it looked likely to shut for good.
But in November a £6,590 grant from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the Oxford Mail’s parent company, saw it rise from the ashes.
Mr Watson said: “We have completed our first round of training, so we now have 10 people qualified at Level One in playwork.
“They are expected to have done 10 hours of volunteering each but they are so enthusiastic, they must have all done more than 100 hours now.”
A day of activities is being planned to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The event from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, June 5, will include a tea party, arts and crafts, performances from local groups and a five-a-side football competition.
Mr Watson said: “A number of young people are planning the event. They are designing the flyers and banners, and it is so nice to have them involved with the place, too. It is an exciting time.”
Among those enjoying the playground this week was Michael Nyambutu, nine, who said: “I wish I could come every day.”
Friend Ethan Anderson added: “It’s amazing and if people don’t come, they are really missing out. I like playing with my friends.”
The playground, for eight to 13-year-olds is open weekdays from 3pm to 5.15pm.
Children must be registered by an adult on their first visit.
Sessions cost £1 and include a free drink and snack.