the play needs of children and young people to be met within prescribed

The play needs of children and young people to be met

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the play needs of children and young people to be met within prescribed boundaries and legislative requirements. The Belfast City Council has taken a ‘Best Value’ approach. This means that play policy is developed inter- and intra- departmentally through cooperation and communication between Civic programming, maintenance, development and planning departments. In order to understand the City of Belfast’s goals, a Parks and Amenities Policy has been developed. It states that the city aims to: increase accessibility for all play provision; design playgrounds that reflect the character and needs of each community; ensure safe and manageable play facilities; participate in regular review cycles of playgrounds for identifying areas in need of change; and Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 21
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continue the commitment to playgrounds after construction through programming events and environmental education opportunities. With regard to playgrounds, the City of Belfast recognizes the need to provide a wide range of play environments of varying sizes and scope in order to accommodate the needs of its youth population. A document describing possible playground types, such as adventure, toddler, environmental, etc., playgrounds complete with definitions and program components, has been developed as a resource for beginning to conceptualize the type of playgrounds that could be implemented in different areas of the city. Playground development guidelines and playground bylaws have been distributed for use by community groups collaborating on specific playground projects. Belfast City has also addressed the growing need to involve community organizations and grassroots groups in the process. They provide a ‘Grant Aid Programme’that guides and supports local groups in developing innovative projects and seasonal play schemes to meet the needs of local children. The process of involving the users is accomplished through: interagency cooperation and partnership - forums, public review, children’s review; inclusive services - grant aid and support material; quality standards - play bylaws and design guidelines; best value for play - a rigorous process of annual monitoring by internal and external sources; and strategy development. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 22
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The idea of developing play place typologies, play bylaws, design guidelines and support material for playground development is a realistic and necessary goal for all government agencies seeking to build better playgrounds. Non-Profit Organizations & Grassroots Community Groups in Canada A community should not underestimate the power of its beliefs and goals. Many communities in Manitoba and around the world have succumbed to the view that government agencies are responsible for their play environments and therefore, they only speak up (as individuals or groups) at the end of the process when the play spaces implemented in their neighbourhoods do not meet their needs or dreams.
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