Play Makers

This short film celebrates play moments and memories from our Play Makers project that worked throughout 2014 to re-imagine the Wisbech Adventure Playground in fantastical ways. The project began in April with a series of workshops for schools and families, run by CCI artists Debbie Hall and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs with Susanne Jasilek. People of all ages were invited to weave stories and dream structures, exploring play, adventure and the outdoors ….all ideas were included (however weird and wonderful). We continued to work alongside the Playteam in the autumn, reaching out to other groups working with families and young people in the community and helping to celebrate all the positive play opportunities the playground offers.

The project idea put forward by Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and Wisbech Adventure Playground certainly stood out as an innovative approach.  This was initially challenging in terms of our assessment and our understanding of how the activities planned would lead to the desired outcomes.  After detailed consideration, and perhaps with some reservations, the project was funded.   Now 6 months on, as the impact of the work begins to be analysed, we are encouraged by what has been achieved and we are delighted by the way in which the project team has delivered.

Jane Darlington, Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire Community Foundation

The intention of the Community Fund was to enable communities to take forward initiatives that they felt would make a positive difference to reducing deliberate fires. This project was not something that we as a Fire Service would ever have thought of undertaking, yet the project has made a big impact in the local community and has reduced anti social behaviour in the area, a clear indication that given the opportunity communities are best placed to understand what will work for them in their area. We are pleased to have supported this initiative and thank all those involved for their hard work.

Rick Hylton, Area Manager, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

The posts below offer further details of many of the creative moments in the project.

A charter for children’s play


Filipa, Debbie and Susanne worked alongside the playteam in this last week to complete the final stages of the project. 

The story sharing continued with a visit to the Rosmini Community Centre with Reuben and Angie to talk with people there about play memories but also think together about how these two community spaces could work together.  The playteam’s newly created photo stories were invaluable in sharing ways that the playground works and enabling positive conversations about future links.

One of the key aims for this stage of the project was to work together to celebrate and make visible all the positive and purposeful forms of play connected with the playground. A charter for children’s play was produced illustrated with images of children at the playground. The photo stories were also used and in progress is a film showing images from the projects alongside recordings of many of the stories we have heard from all sorts of people in the community. The many different voices makes this an intriguing resource and a temporary cinema screening of the material at the end of Friday in the barge proved popular instantly with the children there. There are now display boards that will travel back to partners and different groups and be part of sharing new conversations about the work.

Connecting Octavia Hill


As we sat in conversation in the barge last week, an antiquated enormous black cab drew up and out stepped the very tall, elegant and, as we were to discover, hugely charismatic Peter Clayton, Director of the Octavia Hill Museum. This was his first visit to the playground.

Not a native of Wisbech, Peter has lived and worked in Wisbech for over 40 years, dedicating himself to overseeing and managing the many hurdles of keeping Octavia Hill's memory and Museum thriving.

The main objective of this time together was to explore how the Adventure Playground team and the Octavia Museum could begin to create mutually interesting links.  The Adventure Playground, less than 2 miles from Octavia Hill’s birthplace, is a site entirely in the spirit of her vision and work.

We spent the afternoon at the museum, conversing and collecting stories about play and adventure from the staff, finishing in the extraordinary library bequeathed to the Museum. Here we uncovered a treasure trove of literature and imagery from the 50's and 70's, all extolling the benefits and principles of adventure playground spaces and play for children and reminding us of the significant traditions that the playground belongs to.

So many adventures


We want to share all the ways that adventuring happens in the adventure playground. Here are some brilliant new photo stories that the playteam have put together and that are now displayed in the barge.

Ways to Remember


We’ve been working with new groups at the Spinney in these last sessions encouraging them to discover the joys of adventurous play in this extraordinary space.

Stories of adventuring are emerging everywhere as we offer new ways into the play equipment with different materials as prompts. We want to remember them and continue this celebration so we’ve been trying out a few different approaches. Debbie has created these story photos and Filipa has edited a joyous film of children from Krazydays and Oasis Nurseries. The Playteam are going to keep collecting more and a display of these will be forming in the barge that everyone can contribute to.

What an amazing day we had discovering the adventures we could have at the Spinney with a few emergency blankets, and a couple of balls of wool.  Collaborating with the play workers we helped the groups to discover the delights of adding reflections and wild windyness to their boisterous play. The children were unfolding and examining with delight the fabulous slippery, silvery sheets, which caught the blustery wind and reflected the sky in wonderful ways!

After lunch we also made trails with chunky wool. As we let a ball of wool take us on different journeys, we discovered new spaces, exciting objects, and we followed it's path to places that triggered memories. Harley (4 last week, she was proud to tell me) wandered with her wool through a forest full of teddies, round the 'round and rounder' past the place for swimming, making an 'x marks the spot ' until she found the sand pit where she recounted the time when (some time a go) a tumble made her hurt a lot and she had to find her mummy.

Our adventures


Our first workshop in a series of 4 for this term welcomed groups from Krazydays Nursery and Oasis Children’s Centre last week. It was great to see the Play Team introducing this space to so many young children and their educators and to see new connections being made. Parents and carers for the Stay and Play session also joined in and we began the process of creating together but also remembering stories of adventuring:

Play has changed through necessity, I suppose...When I was a child, it was all outside, playing with your friends up nd down the street...whereas now people are very reluctant to do that...Play has changed.  Thats why its great when they have a facility like this where they can come out and run about and express themselves, play on their own or play with others. Grandfather

Me and my friends played on the medium size slide.  At first it was risky because I was too little to climb up the wooden steps.  But I was able to pull myself up the metal slide all the way to the top.  Because I climbed with my friends, I got squashed and I had to shout very loud as we all came crashing down.  Finally we learn to take turns and scream to let my friends know we were sliding down.

We are digging for treasure.  It's in here somewhere...Pirates, the bad pirates kill the good pirates.  Oh no, the treasure, where is the treasure?


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