The special needs playground was named London Adventure Playground of the Year 2019 at a noisy, messy, joyous event in central London.
The 2019 London Adventure Play Awards saw around 150 experts in play – children – converge on the Prince Charles Cinema to watch short films they had made about the places they love to play up on the big screen. Children are in charge at any good adventure playground and the ELHAP film raised squeals of delight from the young audience with its messy scenes of compliant playworkers being doused in paint, slime and other disgusting goo by children that play there.
Islington’s Timbuktu Adventure Playground scooped the ‘Coolest Place to Play’ award with its film featuring tree climbing, fire building and a lovely dance-off scene to an upbeat soundtrack; while borough-mate Three Corners Adventure Playground took the ‘All Inclusive Award’ and Hackney’s Homerton Grove won ‘Best Flick’ at the annual event today.
Eleven adventure playgrounds were shortlisted for awards and children from the 2018 winners, Triangle Adventure Playground, were the judges. Of ELHAP they commented approvingly: “They get to make the playworkers wet and dirty.” This was also seen as a major plus by the children who play there. Shereen, 10 said: “I can get really, really messy and make slime and throw paint at all the staff!” The winning prize will see ELHAP children and staff working with APES Adventure Playground Engineers to design and build a new play structure with £500 of free materials.
Enfield’s Kynaston Road was named London’s Play Street of the Year with a low-key film showing the simple pleasures of playing in a traffic-free street, even when it rains. Tia, 7 said: “I like play street because you get to ride your bike and play on the road. It’s my favourite in the summer when it doesn’t rain. I want to live on the street forever and be the person who looks after play street with my friends.” The movie-style ‘clapper board’ award came with a prize of £100 for play equipment for the street.
Other prizes were donated by Marks Barfield (a trip in a private pod on the London Eye); and Timberplay (a den building kit) – to the delight of the young winners. But no one missed out! Along with the chance to see their films there was plenty of popcorn, noise, games and high jinks with compere Charlie keeping things just on the right side of chaos.
London Play’s chair, Melian Mansfield said: “Congratulations to ELHAP, Three Corners, Timbuktu and Homerton Grove adventure playgrounds on their awards – and also to Kynaston Road. Thank you too, for showing us what all children deserve: access to high quality, adventurous play in their communities and on their doorsteps. These annual awards remind us how important it is to protect them for future generations.”