Excited children from St Mary & All Saints CE Primary School were the first to experience the new playground in Courage Park when it opened on Thursday, after another major investment in play facilities by the council.
The Year 3 and 4 pupils tried out everything from the swings, slide and roundabout to the multi-unit and zip wire. The work to provide new family play facilities forms part of the renewal of the Wensley Road Estate which will also see 46 new affordable homes built for local residents, and big improvements for tenants in the existing blocks including new triple glazed windows in all flats and new entrances.
The Courage Park playground was closed in mid-December to allow work to begin on the £116,200 project, shaped by a public consultation in the summer from which residents’ opinions were combined with recommendations from the Access and Disability Working Group along with other factors to help decide on the final design.
As part of a push for better value for money, the council also negotiated an additional obstacle course to go along with the new proposed play scheme for Courage Park within the original budget. This area has been seeded and will open up as soon as sufficient grass growth has occurred to make underfoot conditions suitable.
Local resident Janine Murray said: “We’ve walked past the park for weeks on the way to school while it was being done and finally got to go in this week. It’s amazing, my kids loved it so much – well worth the wait”.
Cllr Ellie Emberson, Reading’s Lead Member for Housing, said: “The new Courage Park playground is part of the Wensley Road programme of improvements that includes 46 new council homes for local people. We know that when we develop it is really important to think about infrastructure and this includes play facilities for our families, and that is why we committed to improving our locally loved playground. The reactions of the children at the opening show that this was an excellent investment that many will enjoy”.
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I am really excited by this opening. There are few things more fun than coming out to a new playground that is going to mean so much to local families and be a place where people can get together and have fun. Playgrounds are such an important part of our communities which is why Reading Borough Council is so committed to a widespread programme of improvements that will see a further £890,000 invested in them this year”.