Prospect Park play centre transformation nears completion
- Exciting new play activity centre coming soon to Prospect Park
- Work on the transformation is nearing completion ready for a phased opening over the next few months
AN EXCITING new destination for activities, entertainment and learning for families and children from across Reading and beyond is nearing completion.
Reading Council is investing over £500k in a new play hub and activity centre in part of the pavilion building at Prospect Park.
View more photos of the progress here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmU6oSqb
As part of the Council’s ambition to improve health and drive up participation in outdoor and active play, the fantastic new facilities coming soon will include:
- accessible outdoor family adventure 9-hole mini-golf featuring Reading landmarks;
- an indoor ‘Sky Tykes’ low ropes course for younger children age 7 and under;
- a café facility with indoor and outdoor seating;
- new toilet facilities (including an accessible Changing Places facility);
- multi-function room for parties, meetings and teaching, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or excluded from mainstream education;
- an outdoor education area that will also support Reading Play’s educational outreach work which includes using play as a tool to improve particularly vulnerable young people’s social skills and wellbeing.
Above: New spacious Changing Places facilities
The activity centre will have a phased opening over the next few months, with the finishing touches currently being made to the mini-golf, with a view to this activity opening in late April.
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “As the work on this exciting new play hub comes to fruition, I can’t wait to see it open and offering a new destination for families across Reading and beyond.
“Not only will this benefit the local community, but it will attract a diverse range of visitors to one of our most prominent green spaces, enhancing its reputation both locally and regionally. I personally can’t wait for a mini-golf round amongst some of Reading’s finest heritage buildings!
“The new activity centre is also just one aspect of the enhancement and investment we are making into Prospect Park. We have prioritised the playground for improvements, with a solid focus on accessible equipment for children of all abilities. I urge everyone to vote on their favourite playground design on the Council’s website.”
The pavilion is the home of the Council’s highly regarded and popular Play Service, and the new centre would also provide an outdoor enclosed education zone to support the team’s educational outreach programmes, including a climbing wall and team building activities, such as den building, archery, an outdoor classroom and much more.
Cllr Rowland added: “Even more importantly, this development will allow our amazing Play Service to expand the important educational work they do with vulnerable children across the borough. This will be a significant and valuable extension to our provision for vulnerable and SEND children in a fun, safe and welcoming environment. Income generated through paid activities will crucially allow for this vital targeted work to continue.
“I’m also really pleased we have been able to include an accessible Changing Places facility within this development – a positive step in improving the overall accessible provision of our facilities within Prospect Park.”
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said: “I’m thrilled to see the activity centre nearing completion, as will families and young people across the town, I’m sure.
“It is a key priority for us to drive an increase in activity, health and well-being across the borough, with targeted work in the community to reach those in most need, and work towards reducing health inequalities. Alongside the Council’s major £40 million investment in modern new sports facilities at Rivermead, Palmer Park, South Reading Leisure Centre and Meadway Sports Centre, all of which are well underway or completed, this development will help us increase leisure opportunities and in doing so significantly improve the health and wellbeing of our young people.”
Above: Low ropes 'Sky Tykes' trail
The new activity centre is just one aspect of the enhancement and investment being made within Prospect Park. The playground has been prioritised for improvements, particularly free accessible equipment for children of all abilities. Designs for the new play area are currently out for public consultation and work is anticipated to start in the summer.
To find out more about the Play project visit www.reading.gov.uk/PlayTransformation
Notes to editors
The new activity centre project is being funded from money secured via Section 106 agreements and from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – which are both contributions developers make towards local facilities.
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