School children were full of smiles after a playground they helped design opened this week.
The gates to the new playarea in Welland Way, Oakham, were officially opened on Wednesday and scores of pupils from Brooke Hill Academy were the first to test out the new swings, slides and climbing frames, which they helped choose.
The old playground at the site was originally installed in 1969 and although small improvements have been made since then, much of the equipment left in place was either damaged or missing.
Working closely with pupils from the school, Rutland County Council has spent the last few months upgrading the playarea after being awarded £70,000 grant funding from Waste Recycling Environmental, known as Wren.
Year 6 pupil Maddy Thornley could not wait to jump on all the new equipment when the gates opened. She said: “It’s really, really, really good.
“It’s much better than the last playground because there’s much more going on.
“The spinning roundabout is my favourite thing to go on.
“It’s really nice that we were able to design it because that way the children really want.”
The new equipment installed at the playground now caters for children up to the age of 12 and includes roundabouts, interactive panels, as well as three sets of swings and a basket swing. There is also new picnic tables, benches, fences and secure gate.
Oakham childminder Paula Caffrey, who lives in Welland Way, was delighted she now has somewhere to take all of the children she looks after.
She said: “It’s great there is something for all ages now and it makes my job a lot easier.
“There a little bit for everyone and I’ll definitely be bringing my children here.”
Rutland County Council leader Coun Roger Begy (Con) and Oakham deputy mayor Coun Alf Dewis cut the ribbon at a short ceremony to declare the new playarea open.
Coun Begy said: “The new playground is a huge improvement on what was there before and I’m absolutely sure it will be popular with those who live in and around Welland Way. I can say this with confidence as we have encouraged pupils to effectively choose the equipment and colour schemes as they know better than anyone what appeals to young people in Oakham.”
Brooke Hill Academy headteacher Sharon Milner said: “It was good experience for the school to get involved in a real-life project with the final design and colour scheme being chosen by our pupils.
“The opportunity to contribute to the playarea enabled them to appreciate how decisions taken at an early stage influence th