Young people in Kirklees can benefit from enhanced play spaces thanks to the Playable Spaces project.

The strategy was launched in 2019 with an investment of £9.5 million to enhance outdoor play facilities throughout the district for children and young people, along with their families and carers.

Despite encountering significant challenges due to global events, the dedication and enthusiasm of Kirklees Council officers and residents remain unwavering as they persist in implementing improvements to playable spaces. Their aim is to ensure these spaces meet the needs of local communities and promote the physical and mental well-being of citizens across Kirklees.

Since the commencement of the project in 2021, 49 sites have had contemporary designs created. Among these, 42 designs have already been shared and discussed with residents. Of those, 5 sites are now ready for construction to begin. Currently, work is actively underway on 4 sites, while 16 sites have already been completed.

The Council has collaborated with ward councillors and communities to deliver the most suitable design for each site, recognising that different communities may have diverse needs and requirements for a play space.

One of the renovated play areas, Causeway Crescent Park in Linthwaite, has proven immensely popular among children in the vicinity.

According to Merryn, a student at Linthwaite Clough, the place looks fantastic and offers a wide range of enjoyable activities with plenty of new features.

Olivia, another student from the same school, observed the expansion of the area and improvements made to the swings, which used to be squeaky. She also mentioned that the previously graffiti-covered roundabout is now clean.

Emily, yet another student from Linthwaite Clough, finds the place very child-friendly, with low swings and easily accessible monkey bars.

The ongoing program of work will continue to encompass all 250 sites across Kirklees. Sites will be prioritised based on the age of equipment, its condition, and the requirements of the local community.

Cllr Masood Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Environment said; “Our research, as part of the Playable Spaces strategy, highlights the importance of intergenerational play and the health and wellbeing benefits that this can bring to people of all ages. One of the aims of this project is to create play areas that encourage young people and their families to play together and enjoy the benefits of getting active outdoors.

“Our newly refurbished sites include a variety of innovative equipment to encourage natural play to forge connections with the local environment and give our communities the opportunity to enjoy free fun in the fresh air, and a place to form social connections and improve physical and mental wellbeing.

“We have a rolling programme of consultation that will cover sites across the district, I hope residents will take part and give us their views on our proposed designs. We use feedback, where possible, to ensure our play spaces best fit our diverse and individual communities across Kirklees.”