Halstead Public Gardens is the quintessentially Victorian garden, complete with a bandstand and well-maintained flower beds.
Jupiter Play's brief was to create an inclusive play garden in keeping with the tone of the park and maximising play value for all children.
The company's approach to inclusion is to explore play opportunities that engage the six senses (omitting taste – a tricky one to deliver in playgrounds) which is always delivered best in a natural play space. The space was to provide tranquillity and connection to wildlife and planting within a small space and budget.
The project was jointly funded by Braintree District Council and Halstead in Bloom, who work in partnership to maintain the multi-award-winning picturesque gardens that are popular with local residents and visitors alike.
Braintree District Council consulted on the proposed design with Acorn Children’s Centre, Barnardo’s, Essex County Council, Play and Resources Centre (PARC) in Great Notley, Friends of Halstead Public Gardens, Halstead Town Council and Halstead in Bloom. Children from Halstead’s Little Pickles Nursery also went along to help embed some of the new plants and try out the new equipment.
Halstead in Bloom secretary Julia Smith added: “The Halstead in Bloom team was thrilled to be able to bring this project to fruition. The area is now in keeping with the rest of the gardens and will allow more visitors to enjoy, relax and play. We are looking forward to seeing the smiles on families and children’s faces from the experiences the new play area equipment and sensory plants will bring.”
“This is a fantastic project and I am proud that we have been a part of it. It was the perfect opportunity to install a fully inclusive play park so that children can play together safely. Previously, Halstead had no play provision for children with additional needs and after working with local disabled support groups, we felt that this is something that will benefit the community greatly.”