‘Parks for Life’ Background
Playdale were invited to an international tender by PepsiCo Ltd for Walkers along with several other large international playground manufacturers to be involved in an exciting new project ‘Parks for Life’. After a lengthy presentation and evaluation process, and the unveiling of a design concept to key management from PepsiCo and Walkers, Playdale were awarded the contract to design and install two exciting and innovative new playgrounds in Reading and Leicester for the pilot year of the Parks for Life project.
The Design Concept
Designed to help children engage in physical activity as well as being a sociable area for the entire family, the Parks for Life playgrounds blend traditional play equipment with the i.play electronic system.
The i.play system is based on research commissioned from Loughborough University spin-out company, Progressive Sports Technologies (PST), which highlighted the role that ‘stealth fitness’ (physical activity which is enjoyable enough not to feel like a chore) plays in keeping children at a healthy weight. Playdale and PST then worked together to develop the final product and incorporated electronic technology to appeal to today’s ‘Playstation Generation’. Designed to withstand the rough and tumble of playground life, i.play is vandal resistant and, while designed for a core 8-14 age group can also be enjoyed by adults and people with disabilities.
The i.play system is an integral part of the design in the Walkers ‘Parks for Life’ initiative which also features an eye catching and iconic windmill, a bespoke climbing wall and a Sportswall all provided by Playdale to encourage a play area for all children within the community.
Special opening events were organised to celebrate the official launch of the ‘Parks for Life’ in Reading and Leicester. They were opened by special guest and football hero Gary Lineker and Patricia Hewitt MP and other local dignitaries. National and local press also attended the event which was screened on regional television and can now be viewed on our website.
Speaking about the i.play system on television news programme, Thames Valley Today, Gary Lineker said “there are all too many distractions nowadays with computer games and playstations; it’s quite hard to get kids off the sofa so something like this which is obviously great fun will definitely encourage them to do that!”
Andy Connelly, Councillor for Culture and Leisure in Leicester comments: “The new playground is fantastic news for Leicester. We have worked closely with all the project partners and it is great to be able to offer local families a safe place where they can spend quality time and enjoy outdoor activities”
Children are now enjoying their new playgrounds in Reading and Leicester but their experience does not stop there. i.play gamers can interact with a specially designed website where they can upload their score and compare their performance with other players across the country (www.intelligentplay.co.uk).
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