2013 Shakespeare walks away with top prize


Shakespeare walk(s) away with top Adventure Play Award 




Hackney confirmed its status as one of London’s top boroughs for play today as Shakespeare Walk Adventure Playground (SWAPA) was named Best Adventure Playground in London. Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground won the award for being the ‘most open adventure play setting; and for the second year running, Enfield’s Carterhatch Infants took the award for Best Adventure Play in a School.     


Around 120 excited children from across the capital descended on the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park for the London Adventure Play Awards on Friday. They had all been shortlisted for the awards, which they had entered with short films or images showing why they thought their playgrounds – in community spaces, schools and fully blown adventure playgrounds – were special.   


They were treated to a selection of the best films and celebrated with popcorn and lots of noise, while compere Charlie Kemp kept the vibe just short of anarchic. Children from the previous award-winning Glamis Adventure Playground in Tower Hamlets had previously selected the winner, and handed over the top prize to an ecstatic Shakespeare group.  


Images submitted for the Shakespeare entry demonstrated only too well why it holds such a special place in the hearts of those who play there. Children are shown building, creating, testing, swinging, cooking with fire, digging and dressing up – in all weathers and always smiling.  The open inclusive atmosphere and the variety of things to do at SWAPA were cited as its main strengths by most children with one saying: “No one is ever left out…  Everyone who goes there becomes part of a family.”  The winning prize is a new playground structure, designed and built by APEs Adventure Playground Engineers with the help of the children, and £500 worth of free materials.  Sponsored by 95.8 Capital FM’s Help a Capital Child, awards were given out in four categories as well as recognising Shakespeare Walk as the overall winner: 


“These fantastic films really captured the spirit of adventure play,” said London Play chair Melian Mansfield. “ In a city where as many as 1 in 4 children are living in overcrowded homes, staffed  adventure playgrounds offer a safe place where they can be outdoors with their friends, experience challenges, explore who they are and what they can do – all critical for healthy development.  Often located in relatively deprived parts of London, adventure playgrounds perform a vital function in our communities and should be funded accordingly. Congratulations to Shakespeare Walk and all the other category winners.” 


Richard Horsnell of 95.8 Capital FM’s Help a Capital Child said: “95.8 Capital FM’s Help a Capital Child is delighted to continue supporting London Play’s annual Adventure Play Awards. Not only is it a fun celebration but the fact that children are voting for their favourite playground and a range of other awards is what makes the event so unique. We’d like to congratulate Shakespeare on winning the overall award, and also say well done to the other winning playgrounds. Giving opportunities to the capital’s children and young people to play is vital, and Help a Capital Child is committed to funding projects at adventure playgrounds across London.” 


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