Last Friday some of the Westbury Estate play experts, adults and children alike, joined us by the fountain to talk about Play Spaces.
The sunny, summer holiday Friday was a perfect day for residents to join members of the Development Management Team for games, refreshments and to tell us about play and play spaces on Westbury.
We focused on the outdoor spaces in between the houses and found out how residents, across all ages, choose to play in these spaces.
We also had some games for everyone to try out the different types of play and tell us what they think. There was a mini football pitch, an obstacle course, a dressing up box and a nature hunt. As well as being fun, these activities really helped us have some great conversations and observe play in action.
Amongst the chalk and sun cream, we found out some really useful information about where some of the residents of Westbury like to play and also what type of play is happening across the estate.
We ran two main activities to help us gather insight around the themes of:
- Where on the Westbury Estate children like to play
- What types of play residents of Westbury prefer
Where do you play?
On a colourful map of Westbury, residents helped us to locate where on the estate they usually play by placing a flag on their favourite spots. Here’s what we found out:
- Many of you like to play football either in the football pitch or on the grass or squares between the houses.
- A lot of the younger residents of Westbury, above the age of 6, really liked to cycle or ride their scooters around the different squares of the estate, in particular around the fountain, beside Fovant Court and on the 'grass roundabout'.
- Some children told us that they play outside of the estate and go to Heathbrook Park, mostly to use the swings and climbing frames.
- Free play was very popular in the private gardens of the estate and in the squares in between the buildings. People told us they were interested in wildlife, animals, trees and flowers and the 'fountain square' is used by everyone for ‘free play’ ranging from kite flying to bike fixing or playing music.
Types of play
We presented the four different types of play to everyone that joined our pop up on Friday and this sparked some interesting conversations about what types of play people liked and disliked at Westbury.
Active play (usually pieces of equipment that get you moving) seemed to be the most popular type of play across all age groups. The kids of Westbury really liked bikes, and moving fast across the squares of the estate with scooters and roller skates. Everyone loved the green roundabout, the hills and the small mounds in the square, using them as challenges for the more adventurous riders. (Some of the grown ups also told us they like to sit out on these mounds and socialise)
Many people said they enjoyed Sports Play, especially football, tennis and table tennis.
The younger visitors to our Play Pop-up were more interested in Free Play and Imaginative Play, exploring the wildlife on the estate, drawing with crayons and chalk and playing with costumes in the dressing up box.
What the adults said
While the kids sprinted ahead on the assault course and peeked under the rocks to find some creepy crawlies, we also spoke to parents and the adults of the estate and found out that having a visual connection to the play spaces was very important. Many parents were happy to stay on their balcony as long as they could see the spaces where their children were playing.
Some residents commented that it was nice to hear children laughing and playing in between the houses, and the general input from parents was that it was important to keep the play areas safe and protected from the main road and traffic.
If you missed our first summer play pop-up, don’t worry as we will be back and you will be seeing more of the make:good team around the Westbury estate from the end of August.
There will be no council Drop-in this August, but you can join Dilan and Siddiqa from Lambeth on the 6th September from 4 - 6pm in Amesbury Tower TRA Room.