More than a dozen play areas across Stoke-on-Trent are being spruced up ready for spring in the latest round of capital investment into the city’s parks and play areas.

From Monday 15 February, locally based PM Training will be working at 13 parks and play areas to update facilities ready for families to enjoy. Jobs include painting railings and gates, play equipment, benches, basketball hoops and goalposts.

First on the list is Abbey Road Park in Abbey Hulton where railings and play equipment will be updated over three days. The programme of works is expected to be finished by mid-April at Goms Mill Park.

Cllr Carl Edwards, cabinet member for housing and environment at the city council, said: “Public playgrounds are not only an iconic symbol of childhood, they also encourage imaginative and physical play. We have seen an increase in the number of people using the parks and play areas during the pandemic, encouraged by the Government’s national policy of safe places to exercise and dwell. This, of course, leads to an increase in wear and tear to facilities and is why we’re doing this work now. After a long winter coupled with the national lockdown, it’s more important than ever to have lovely, safe outdoor space for young people to enjoy while they exercise their minds and bodies.”

The council’s investment in improving or renovating children’s play areas is part of a wider £1.8m schedule of works over a five-year period.

In addition to the upgrades, new signage will be in place to remind people to maintain social distancing, to wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visit, to take their own hand sanitiser wherever possible and not to eat and drink whilst using play equipment.

Users are also asked to take their litter home or to dispose of it in the bins provided, be considerate of other park users and if any play area appears busy, they should come back at a later time.

As with all outdoor equipment that can be used by everyone, play areas cannot be guaranteed to be free of COVID-19. Parents should supervise their children at all times and should take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their children while using the equipment.

Government guidance says parents, guardians and carers should sanitise children’s hands both before and after using the play equipment.

(Main image park area example.)

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