Adventure playground could help tackle anti-social behaviour in Manor

Plans to build a brand new adventure playground in the heart of Angleton estate are underway after try-out play sessions were met with a hugely positive response.

The free play sessions were held after police, councillors and local businesses met to discuss ways to engage young people and help tackle anti-social behaviour in the area, which has been a huge problem on the estate for years.

Over November and December, parents and children have had the chance to engage with trained play-workers in a number of activities to see how an adventure playground could impact on the estate.

Fran Belbin, who runs an adventure playground over at Pitsmoor, said one of the key differences about adventure playgrounds is the fact they are staffed by people who are trained in engaging children in all different types of play.

She said: “From fire building to tug-of-war, by letting kids do quite risky things, they learn all sorts of skills about judgement and keeping themselves safe.”

PS Martin Simcock, of the Manor and Arbourthorne neighbourhood team, said it was precisely this that helps with anti-social behaviour.

“Staff is key. Not only do they let children take more risks in a controlled environment, but they also become a guardian and a marshal for the area.”

Currently, the Manor region has some of the worst anti-social behaviour in Sheffield, but parents in the area have said they think this is partly because there is nothing for children to do.

Rachel Harris, a parent who lives on the estate said: “At the moment I have to walk half an hour to get to the nearest play park. I think this is a brilliant idea. It would stop kids being bored.”

Anais Eghbali, 10, lives next to where the proposed playground would be. She said: “There’s nothing near where I live now, but if they built a playground here I would 100% play on it.”

Since receiving such a positive response following the play sessions, discussions are underway to fund the building and maintenance of the park. Fran Belbin said they will probably need upwards of £1 million for a fully running playground but it can be a gradual process. Other parks around the country have been funded in different ways, from BBC Children in Need, Big Lottery Fund to donations from local schools. With such a positive reaction on Angleton estate, it is now about starting those discussions to get this park up and running and changing future prospects for local children.