Article published on 27 April 2023
In 2021, Theale Parish Council embarked on a journey to upgrade its outdoor play area facilities on the recreation ground. The Council decided to replace the existing playground and provide more facilities for older children, teenagers and adults while reducing anti-social behaviour and combatting obesity in the process. Proludic was selected not only to produce designs for these two exciting projects but also to oversee a consultation process that would give residents the power to shape the final designs.
Proludic produced an online survey that asked residents to give their opinions on the play and MUSA (Multi-Use Sports Area) proposed design facilities. The survey received over 200 responses and results indicated a clear preference for a MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) and outdoor Calisthenitc gym equipment. Proludic also produced a YouTube video to engage younger children.
The final design for the junior and toddler play area featured a new coloured wetpour safer surfacing and also included accessible swings (J493), age-appropriate Kanopé & Diabolo multiplay units (J5610 & J38124), trampoline squares (R34-ETP-000A), a rodeo board (J3501) and an inclusive roundabout (J3501). Additional items for the toddlers were a fun playhouse (J234) and a seesaw springer (J852). Outside the fenced-off play area, a 4-seat hurricane swing (R24-ITY-724) was located to appeal to older children (aged 5 plus).
Two new accessible entrances were created into the play area and to make the recreation ground more accessible to villagers, especially those with mobility issues. A new path linking the churchyard to an existing path on the recreation ground was built. A natural colour pallet was also chosen for the safer surfacing wetpour and playground equipment to blend in with the beautiful view and backdrop provided by the jaw-dropping Theale Holy Trinity church.
The MUSA included a MUGA court featuring a range of sports markings and including football goals and basketball hoops at either end. Lower fencing on one side of the MUGA was put in place for spectators to get involved with the on-court action and make the space more inclusive. Next to the MUGA, we installed an ACTI’Street fitness area for callisthenics, with ACTI’Fit outdoor gym equipment aimed at sociable fitness and exercise.
The design also includes a designated space for fitness classes and boot camps. Security lighting helps make the area welcoming while CCTV covers the whole area to reduce anti-social behaviour. Between the play area and MUSA, we have placed a much sought-after cableway (J518) and junior metal monkey bars (JPS21).
Such a grand design merited a grand opening, with goodie bags and free ice cream for young visitors and activities, games and refreshments for all.
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