Pupils from two local primary schools joined Leeds City Council officers, executive members and sponsors to see the culmination of a two-year project to create a multi-use facility at East End Park.
Pupils from Victoria, Richmond Hill and All Saints Primary Schools took part in the Design a Healthy Park Project led by Leeds City Council with funding from, the council’s public health department, parks and countryside service and Veolia.
As part of the project pupils worked in teams to develop ideas for a park which would help improve the health of the local community, and encourage people to be more active and healthy. School council members from Richmond Hill Primary School made a special visit to the park to see how the plans have been put into action.
The aim of the project was to make East End Park a healthy park, useable by people of all ages.
Following the project the council’s parks department installed:
• Two interpretive display boards about the Park detailing, amongst other things, an exercise trail around the park.
• An activity area comprising a dip station, climbing wall and stepping stones.
• Outdoor fitness equipment – Tai chi wheels and a mini-ski stepper, and;
• QR codes facilitating an illustration of how the equipment can be used.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member responsible for health and wellbeing said:
“The design a healthy park project has been a great success and shows how Public Health in Leeds is leading the way on promoting physical activity amongst children and families to improve their physical and mental health. The new facilities will go a long way to help increase activity amongst the community and ultimately have an impact on reducing childhood obesity, as well as improving the health of people of all ages.”
Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children and families said:
“The pupils from these schools did a fantastic job, and came up with some very innovative ideas for a safe multi-use park. Our aim of making Leeds a child friendly city and the best city to grow up in requires us to listen and take heed of what children and young people tell us they want.”
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member responsible for safer, cleaner and stronger communities said:
“This project is a fantastic example of how our parks can be used to bring communities together. We followed the pupils’ ideas to create a safe and useful park which the whole community can use to keep fit and healthy.”
Paul Fowler, general manager for Veolia in Leeds said:
“We are delighted to be involved in such an important project that has allowed local pupils to push their innovation to create an area that is accessible to anyone. We know this will be an integral part of the community for a long time to come.”
Pupils’ suggestions for improvement included: a tidy-park free from litter and dog-fouling; improved play facilities/equipment & greater security, including CCTV. Some of the designs also included nature areas and wildlife gardens as well as allotments and food growing areas.
As well as considering the design of the park and what facilities should be included, the pupils also put together more detailed proposals for possible implementation, including costings. Each group presented their final proposals to a panel of judges who were tasked to decide on an overall winning proposal that they would look to implement.
The winning team from Richmond Hill Primary School proposed a varied approach to attracting people to the park including; free Wi-Fi throughout the park, a café serving nice food, equipment to facilitate exercise such as monkey bars, treadmill and a fun slide. The pupils even came up with their own slogan for the development; “keeps you fit and healthy”
The winning proposal from Victoria Primary School was a nature trail aimed at children and adults comprising a picnic bench area, wild flower meadow, children's activity zone and a food growing area. It even included a Japanese water feature. The slogan for this proposal was “healthy for the mind and body”.