W Bro John Little SLGR investigates
Emerging from the restrictions at the height of the pandemic, the work of the Grove Adventure Playground has been given a boost with a grant of £3000 from London Freemasonry. This has enabled the charity to continue its work delivering play experiences to children and young people in Loughborough Junction, Brixton and the surrounding areas.
Having been originally opened in Angell Town in 1969, the Grove Adventure Playground has been a historic venue for play for more than 50 years. After relocating several times, it eventually moved to its present location, where it is run by a dedicated group of workers and volunteers, who are making a genuine change to the lives of many children and young people who live in the Loughborough Junction area.
The playground is open access, free, supervised adventure playground for 6–14-year-old children who get the opportunity to explore the world around them in a safe and secure environment, make new friends and learn new skills. Food, drinks and snacks are provided every day.
Nick Lewis, manager of Grove, comments:
'The children and young people in the community are very excited to return to the playground to reunite with old friends, our staff and volunteers. The demand for our Play Days has ensured that our adventurous play structures have been back in constant use with the delighted screams and yells of our children, evidencing the joy and thrill of chasing around, running, and just playing.
'While some children are dashing around, others are finding themselves deep in concentration constructing mini artworks from beads, strings, playdough and plasticine or helping in the kitchen or with the gardening. Nearby, a good-natured game of table football is being enjoyed by the players with a cohort of enthusiastic onlookers.
'Other, more sport-focused young people, make their way over to the neighbouring football pitch - a great facility which we are able to hire in part due to the generous contribution from the Freemasons’ Charity.
'The mixing, hum and vibrant buzz of activity are brought to a gradual halt as the dinner bell echoes across the site, and the children come together to sit down for lunch and catch up on the day's events. The food is served by a combination of staff and the children themselves, many of whom see themselves as kitchen assistants, as they take great pride in the preparation and serving of many of our salads, main meals and other dishes.
'We are also developing a popular 'Stay and Play' integrated special needs service where parents can relax and chat with each other after school, while their children enjoy working with staff to build fires, create artworks and build wooden structures, dance to music and play basketball.
'All of these exciting opportunities form a core of activities designed to give our community a sense of ownership and opportunity. Our young people gain experiences and develop ideas that feed into the co-creation of a sustainable centre of play and camaraderie. We are grateful to the London Freemasons for helping us continue and expand this work.'
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 46 October 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 46.