*Updated 3 August 2020*
Sheffield City Council is reopening a small number of playgrounds, spread across the city’s parks, from Wednesday 29 July.
Following the Government’s announcement that playgrounds and outdoor gyms can reopen from 4 July, the council’s parks and countryside service has been working through the challenges to enable reopening safely.
Outdoor play or gym equipment is usually available to the public in more than 150 open spaces in Sheffield but these were closed in line with Government restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
After completing safety inspections, the council is reopening 8 playgrounds and nearby outdoor gym facilities. The inspections were carried out to make sure these sites are safe to reopen, and some changes have been made to allow for social distancing.
Regular equipment cleaning is being introduced, with some of the busier parks being cleaned daily. The council has also stated recommendations of use to encourage responsible use of facilities.
From Wednesday children will be able to use the playgrounds at some of Sheffield’s most popular parks including Endcliffe, Graves, Forge Dam, Rivelin and Millhouses. (full list below) The playgrounds being reopened should allow all residents some access to facilities.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to reopen some playgrounds across the city. I know it will make a big difference to families who may have been struggling to keep little ones entertained.
“We have taken a little longer to reopen these facilities because there are safety challenges to overcome. Protection and prevention remains our top priority and we are not willing to compromise on this.
“Use of playgrounds and outdoor equipment will be kept under review. Only the ones we have officially reopened should be used for now, but we are working hard to open more play areas as quickly as we can.
“We ask everyone to play responsibly as you make the most of our beautiful parks and green spaces and wish all families a healthy and happy break for the summer holidays.”
The measures taken include:
- Inspection across all sites to assess condition
- Inspections to assess where equipment does not support social distancing
- Changes to support social distancing, such as removal of middle swings
- Maintenance and ongoing cleaning work at sites to reopen
- Wherever possible only one parent or carer should accompany their child/children to the playground
- In line with Government guidance, no more than 6 people should meet in a group
- No food or drink to be consumed while inside playground area. Picnics and snacks should be eaten on park areas outside the playground
- Wherever possible bring your own hand sanitiser and use frequently
- Wipe down equipment or touch points if you can
- Talk to children about how to practice good hygiene and social distancing
- Avoid visiting at busier times where possible
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield, said: “I understand that residents are keen to start visiting playgrounds once again, and that reopening will bring many health and wellbeing benefits.
“However, these areas present high risks in terms of contact. To reduce the risk of infection everyone must be responsible when using the facilities. If you want to play, follow the recommendations we’ve set out and the Government’s guidance on groups and social distancing.
“The Council are cleaning playgrounds weekly to keep them clean, but we also ask that people help where they can. Look after the safety of your loved ones by washing your hands with hot water and soap or hand sanitiser where this is not possible.
“Good hygiene practice is paramount for keeping yourself safe and protecting others and even more importantly, if you are poorly and think you have symptoms, however mild, please stay at home. This will help stop the spread.”
Signs will be placed at each location reminding visitors about the recommendations of use.
Full list of playgrounds available:
- Firth Park
- Parsons Cross
- Cross Lane Stockbridge
- Beach Wood
- Don Field, Deepcar
- Tinley Green
- High Hazels Park
- Forge Dam
- Endcliffe Park and parkour and outdoor gym
- Rivelin Valley
- Chapeltown including the outdoor gym
- Colley Park and parkour facility
- Graves Park Rose Gardens
- Millhouse Park including the outdoor gym
It is planned that more playgrounds will opened on a weekly basis. Updates will be shared through Sheffield Parks and Countryside @parksheffield on Twitter & Instagram, or @Sheffieldparks on FB https://www.facebook.com/sheffieldparks
For more information or to report any concerns contact the council’s Parks and Countryside service at email@example.com or call 0114 2500 500.