2016 East End boys and girls get West End award


Roman Road is London Adventure Playground of the Year 2016

A film and a song created by children to show just how much their playground means to them has bagged them a top award. Bow’s Roman Road Adventure Playground was today named 2016 London Adventure Playground of the Year at a high octane event in the West End. White City Adventure Playground (pictured) is officially London’s ‘Coolest Place to Play’, and Love Lane in Croydon is the capital’s best play street.  


Around 200 children from adventure playgrounds, play streets and schools across London descended on the Prince Charles Cinema in the heart of the West End, to see films they’d made about the places they play, up on the big screen. With awards in five categories up for grabs as well as the overall winner to be announced, the buzz in the air was palpable. 


The Roman Road film featured big swings, plenty of sand, children hacking and sawing and teetering towers of tyres. “A playground so valued by children that play there that they made up a song about it,” said the judges. “Roman Road is clearly important to these children and the lyrics of their song sum up the spirit of adventure play perfectly.” 


Children from the 2015 winning playground at Hackney Marsh, who chose the winners, handed over the award to a euphoric Roman Road group. The winning prize will enhance the playground further with a new structure, designed and built by APEs Adventure Playground Engineers with the help of the children, and £500 worth of free materials.   


Maizie, aged 9 said about Roman Road: “I like to play on the slide, swing and to see my friends.” Francis added: This is the best adventure playground… we have chocolate toast.” 


With five other award categories for schools and play streets as well as adventure playgrounds, there was plenty more excitement on offer. Along with the films came plenty of popcorn, noise, games and high jinks with comperes keeping the atmosphere just on the right side of chaos and ensuring that no one went away disappointed.   


White City Adventure Playground took the prestigious ‘Coolest Place to Play’ award and with it a £500 cash prize for playground improvements.  Croydon’s Love Lane was named Play Street of the Year and Southwark’s Bethwin Road Adventure Playground took the Flick ‘n’ Snap award for a very slick film incorporating footage from a drone.  Lewisham’s Kender School won the ‘best adventure play in a school’ award. Shiremoor Adventure Playground in Tyne and Wear won the inaugural ‘Beyond London’ Award.  


London Play’s chair, Melian Mansfield said:  “As the number of stories in the media highlighting concerns about children’s wellbeing, resilience and happiness continue to rise, the number of adventure playgrounds in London are in decline – with Lambeth and Enfield both closing facilities over recent months. This annual event plays an important role in recognising and celebrating the life-affirming and even life-transforming role that these places play in the lives of children and young people.”  


She continued: “With a quarter of London’s children living in overcrowded homes and one in five overweight or obese, space and opportunity to play is vital. Playgrounds like Roman Road and White City are doing a fantastic job with few resources – we hope that these awards make more people understand how valuable these places are and act to protect them.”  


We have loads of free tips and resources for playgrounds, play workers and anyone passionate about adventure play. Click here to go to our Resources section