May 01, 2017 Last Updated 10:20 AM, Apr 28, 2017

Bespoke for belonging

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Taking ownership of a community playground is quite important to its young visitors and extended families. So what could be better than providing a bespoke element to a playground product or even an entire play scheme? Incorporating key aspects of important local heritage, landmarks or simply location into outdoor play design is one of Wicksteed Playgrounds specialist areas.

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Wicksteed’s dynamic creative team at the hub of the design process coupled with the expertise and enthusiasm of area sales managers ensures that exceptionally imaginative projects ranging from nursery schools to huge country parks – and everything in between – are produced. Beautifully executed graphic drawings and animations of the proposed designs enable key decision makers to clearly envisage the final scheme. Additionally, public consultation – carried out wherever possible – allows the young people – for whom sport and play facilities are ultimately built – to have their say in the end product; again, taking ownership.

Enhancing a site by utilising aspects of its geographical or historic location adds a special identification to the scheme. Playing with the given landform and creating mounds, tunnels and revetments around it enhances both the visual impact and the play and discovery opportunities within it. Creative landscaping and colourful, imaginative playground surfacing play a big part in painting the overall picture but individual products can also be modified and themed.

A great example of these elements at play is demonstrated in Scotland’s Rouken Glen Park for which Wicksteed recently carried out a hugely exciting refurbishment. Commissioned by East Renfrewshire Council, the project was made possible through a successful Heritage Lottery Fund application. A major attraction to draw families to the park, the enticing, inclusive play area is situated directly in front of the notable early nineteenth century Pavilion, also newly refurbished.

Under the genius guidance of its designer, Brad, who now resides in Scotland, Wicksteed designed and installed a series of zones inspired by woodland, pirates and oceans, not to mention the magnificent waterfall for which Rouken Glen is famous. Included in the design are two very special zones; a quiet and a multi-sensory zone. True to Wicksteed’s keen sense that youngsters of all ages and abilities should be catered for, these quiet, tactile areas are just as important as the more robust, challenging ones and they offer all-round facilities to keep everyone occupied and happy.

Eager pupils from local primary schools were invited to indicate their preferred products to be installed on their new playground which resulted in the final tantalisingly attractive and exciting new area. Central to the scheme is a bespoke Galleon from Wicksteed’s brand new Armada range, which stands abreast of a huge Swashbuckling Netscape. These multi-faceted units can be made to very personal requirements and can feature specific names via a free name plate. Appealing to everyone from the young toddler right up to the adventurous adult, the multi-play units based on a sea-faring theme are visually stunning and also offer great play value.

Adjacent to the play area is one of Wicksteed’s popular steel Cableways which draws queues as excited youngsters wait in line to grab their chance of whizzing through the air as they tightly hang on! A new picnic area has also been created which is the perfect place for families to sit, relax and take in the sights.

Another example of the power of bespoke sites is demonstrated at the two new play areas at Bedfont Lakes Country Park which Wicksteed recently designed for the London Borough of Hounslow. Two of three new play areas commissioned by the council and situated on the north side, this new provision at the ever popular park in Feltham, Middlesex was fully funded by central government. The park has been awarded Green Flag status and has become one of the best places for watching wildlife in the London area.

Taking full advantage of the play areas’ rural location and following a natural, timber theme to totally enhance the given environment, Wicksteed included bespoke products accordingly. A special bespoke multi-play unit featuring a double width slide, wheelchair accessible ramp, Pole Slider and see-through bubble viewing panel ensures that the play areas are inclusive and appealing to all levels and abilities.

Landscaping is an integral part of Wicksteed’s design and development of new play areas and can be most effective in creating clever new levels and adding an extra dimension to a site. Playful mounds, revetments, log trails and a hand-carved bespoke Totem Pole further enhance the playground at Bedfont Lakes and a Bug Magnifier enables visitors to get up close to the creepy crawlies dwelling in the region!

Ian Martin, Project Manager from the Council said: “Hounslow Council was very pleased with the service provided by Wicksteed on this project to refurbish the two playgrounds at Bedfont Lakes Country Park. The quality of the design, the equipment and the installation works will give any child visiting the park an opportunity to have a varied and exciting play experience.”

Having garnered Awards for products and services over the years, and with a sparkling new winner’s trophy for Creative Innovation: Fitness Legacy Zone, awarded at the end of 2014, Wicksteed is a company which offers expertise and vision like no other.

Notably, Wicksteed offers free consultation on any project and its teams of designers and area sales managers are keen to ensure that customers realise the potential in making a new play area bespoke and special to the school or community in question.

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