Community Build Play Spaces

Community build play spaces are developed, built and maintained by local people to meet the needs of their community.

Developing a play space using manufactured equipment and surfacing can be an expensive process but often, with appropriate guidance, there are a range of skills that already exist in communities that can be employed to make quality play spaces and to make money and resources go further. At the same time, working together on a play space can nurture a sense of community cohesion and ownership.

Whilst there is guidance on safety surfacing and equipment to be used in play spaces it is often mis-understood and if negotiating bureaucracy proves difficult, it is worth obtaining professional advice. In addition, community build play spaces do not have to be entirely built by the community - some elements in the design and build process can be out-sourced.

In terms of Health and Safety, risk assessment and safety guidelines, there is a lot of mis-understanding and mis-information with health and safety often being blamed as a reason NOT to provide exciting play spaces. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fully recognises the need for children to experience and create risk as part of their play. The Play Safety Forum (PSF) and the HSE have published a joint high level statement to promote a balanced approach to managing risk in children's play. The statement emphasises that when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and the benefits - no child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool.

Download the statement - Children's Play and Leisure: promoting a balanced approach

The HSE also commends the guide Managing Risk in Play Provision (Play England, 2008) which provides advice on negotiating legislation and guidance on implementing risk-benefit assessment in play spaces.

Download Design for Play - guidance on planning and designing play areas

Download Play spaces: planning and design 

Download Play spaces: common complaints and simple solutions