It’s playtime for everyone at Anna Ritchie’s inclusive new playground

Client: Anna Ritchie School’s Parent Council via Aberdeenshire Council

Location: The Anna Ritchie School, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

When it comes to Inclusive Play’ a well-designed play area should provide the opportunity for all children to participate in play, regardless of their age or ability. An inclusive playground should offer the same thrills, challenges and experiences as any other playground.

The Anna Ritchie School, Peterhead, in the north-east of Scotland has recently opened a brand new, inclusive playground to ensure that access to all the fantastic experiences on offer in a play area is available for all its pupils.

The end result is the remarkable achievement of the staff and parent council after years of fundraising efforts. Five years ago there was no play equipment in the area at all. The former head teacher of the school, Ishbel Cruickshank was the driving force behind the project and started the ball rolling to provide facilities for outdoor play. The pupils at Anna Ritchie have wide ranging special needs so the benefits of an accessible play area where they could connect with the environment, learn from nature, improve their health and physical development whilst all the time interacting and socialising with each other would be enormous.

AR photo Lottery for case study

Enjoying the Adventure Trail

The funds were raised by various means. Parent Council Treasurer Marna McDonald thanked the Lottery  for rewarding a grant of £10,000 through its Awards for All programme. A number of local companies in the area including oil companies provided donations but an incredible donation that really made it all happen was a £10,000 sum which was bequeathed to them from a RAF Squadron Leader. A truly remarkable  gesture from his trustees.

Phase 1 began with the installation of items from our Timber Adventure Trail.  Following this, Phase 2 saw the addition of equipment chosen from our Inclusive Design range including the popular Team Swing that gives children the chance to play together using teamwork and social skills to make the swing go higher and higher, and the Inclusive Orbit with its strong, innovative, stainless steel design that allows for exciting inclusive play as children can enjoy spinning round as fast as they can together.

kellymrscruckshankroundabout for website

Ishbel Cruickshank with Kelly on the Inclusive Orbit

When Ishbel retired after 38 years and had to leave the project, the sterling work was continued by Marna McDonald and Cindy Buchan and others of the Parent Council. They have recently added a Timber Junior Swing with two flat seats. They themselves will be stepping down from the parent council soon and they are hoping that other parents will take over and continue to improve the school for the children.

The acting head teacher Sharon Ferguson said she and her team are “absolutely delighted” with the project outcome. The pupils have really enjoyed playing with all the new equipment and the increased accessibility means that so many more pupils can now join in, play and have fun together.

Playground shot for website with roundabout

Acting head teacher Catriona Creighton told us, “The support Anna Ritchie receives from the local community has always been amazing and is invaluable in helping us to continually improve the experience for our pupils.”

Read more about Playdale’s Inclusive Design.

If you are considering improving your school’s outdoor areas contact us to arrange a free, no obligation appointment with your local area manager.


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