Cllr Sue Loudon (second left) and ward councillors at the opening of the new Legh Street park in Golborne in August 2009.
A NEW survey has revealed more young people in Wigan and Leigh are happier with their parks and play areas following massive investment.
Tellus4 is a national survey which gathers children and young people’s views on their life, their school and their local area.
The latest data shows that 52.7% of children and young people in Wigan and Leigh are satisfied with parks and play areas within the borough - compared with 38.9% in 2008/09.
Performance has exceeded the national upward trend in satisfaction and has seen the borough move above the North West average (51.9%). The figure also represents the largest improvement of any area in the North West.
Mesnes Park’s £3.4m restoration and refurbishment and a £2m investment programme through the government’s Play Pathfinder Programme are two of the major works currently being undertaken in the borough.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), who manage the parks and the installation of play equipment on behalf of Wigan Council, has so far either completed, or nearly completed, 15 of the 28 play areas earmarked for improvement.
Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Children and Young People, Cllr Sue Loudon, said: “The pathfinder project has a massive part to play in play!
“Not just in terms of providing facilities to encourage young people to get active but also in educational terms. Children learn a lot through play. They learn to share, develop relationships and support one another.
“This project is leading the way and I am delighted with these latest figures.”
The new equipment is only part of the wider vision for play areas across Wigan and Leigh.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust aim to improve the profile of play in general through the Play Finders Team which delivers play sessions.
Debbie Freeman, Play and Early Years Manager for WLCT, said: “We’re delighted with the results so far. All decisions on play area developments are taken via the township forums and ultimately the Play Strategy Board within the council. Everyone is working tremendously hard to improve play and parks right across the borough.”
Play areas across the borough already developed as part of the Play Pathfinder programme include:
Note: sites due to be complete by the end of March are marked with a *.
* Legh Street Play Area, Golborne
* Pennington Hall Park, Leigh
* St Aidens, Winstanley
* Jubilee Park, Ashton
* Astley Street, Tyldesley
* Ellesmere Street, Astley*
* Three Sister’s, Bryn
* Platt Lane, Whelley
* Cale Lane, New Springs
* William Fosters, Ince
* Abram Park, Abram
* Marsh Green Teen-meet, Marsh Green*
* Oaklands, Lowton*
* Norley Hall Adventure Playground, Norley Hall
* Westleigh Park*
Phase one of Mesnes Park’s restoration includes renovation of the Pavilion, Bandstand, Dalton Steps, Playshack and play area.