A team of young volunteers from Wigan has been working to improve a much loved local playground.
For 30 years Norley Hall Adventure Playground has provided a great place for young people to meet and enjoy indoor and outdoor activities. But in recent times, some of the facilities have been in need of a makeover.
The 9 volunteers, aged between 16 and 21 were taking part in the Princes Trust programme, which is delivered in Wigan and surrounding areas by Groundwork. The Princes Trust helps young people to move into employment, education or training by helping them to develop key skills, confidence and motivation. As part of the programme, the team has to successfully deliver a project that will benefit their local community.
Two of the team had visited the adventure playground regularly as children, whilst another was the son of one of the Play Workers there. So it was probably no surprise that for their community project the young people chose to improve the playground.
For the last two weeks they’ve worked really hard, often in terrible weather conditions. They’ve painted fences, improved pathways and replaced sand in the play areas, making the whole playground more accessible and enjoyable for people to use. They also recycled some of the materials at the site to create a firepit, which will now be used to host outdoor cooking sessions and regular chill out sessions for young people. They paid for all the supplies and equipment themselves, raising money through cake sales and raffles on Wigan Market and at the Groundwork office in Hallgate.
The team marked the completion of their project with a celebration event at the playground itself, which is run by leisure trust Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles on behalf of Wigan Council.
Play Development Officer, Jill Lane, described the team as ‘awesome’ and said: “These young people were so enthusiastic and they’ve done an amazing job that’s given the playground a huge lift. This programme has made a noticeable difference to these young people. It’s been great to see them grow in confidence and come together as a team and they’ve been a pleasure to work with.”
Cllr Paul Kenny, Cabinet member for leisure at Wigan Council, said: “What a great project and a really good example of people getting involved in improving their local community in the spirit of the Wigan Deal. Well done to everyone involved.”
During the final part of their Princes Trust Team programme, the group will now go on placements, providing them with workplace experience and helping them to develop their CVs.
Groundwork’s Programme Director for Employment and Skills, Colin Greenhalgh, was at the celebration event and said: “The Princes Trust Team Programme has a proven track record for helping young people progress into employment or further training. Being able to provide high quality work experience makes a huge difference. We’d love to hear from any employers who may be able to offer a two week work placement, or an apprenticeship opportunity for a local young person.”
Two of the young people from the team, Jack and Keelan, have been so impressed by the work being done by the Norley Hall Adventure Playground that they have asked if they can continue to volunteer there after they’ve finished their programme.
For more information about the programme visit Groundwork website.