An adventure playground founded amid the rubble of post-war south London is expanding a scheme which allows children to get their hands dirty and learn about where food comes from.
The nature club at Triangle Adventure Playground – the oldest such facility in the capital still on its original site – helps children learn about biodiversity and the natural world and grow, cook and eat their own food.
It will be launching a family allotment club and ramping up growing of fruit and veg at its site in Oval to provide healthy food to families in need; and running sessions for mums and toddlers to inspire green-fingered children from an early age.
The new schemes are made possible thanks to a £48,000 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
Chairman of the City Bridge Trust Committee, Dhruv Patel, said: “Allowing children to be creative, to come up with their own ideas, to get dirty, build relationships with their peers and enjoy outdoor play is a really important for healthy child development.
“This funding will enable Triangle to extend its activities in the community and to help more children – and their families – learn about nature and enjoy the benefits of healthy, nutritious food.”
Triangle was set up in 1957 by Marjorie Porter – head teacher at nearby Ashmole Primary School – inspired by a Danish trend for child-led play and the sight of youngsters making their own fun in the rubble of World War Two bomb sites.
Its ethos of ‘free play’ sees youngsters from six to 17 roam outdoors in a safe and supervised environment, have fun on equipment such as swings and a zipwire, enjoy arts and crafts activities and even build their own huts.
Veronika Garwolinski, Chair of the Triangle Adventure Playground Association, said: “When children first come to us they’re often squeamish about getting their hands in the soil, but we see them go on a journey where it becomes second nature to them as they enjoy the health benefits that come from immersing themselves in the natural world.
“We have many families in this area who don’t have a lot of money and struggle to access fresh, healthy food, and it’s great to see children not only developing a passion for nature and food growing but also inspiring the same interest in their parents.”
More information on Triangle Adventure Playground is at www.triangleadventureplayground.com