At long last there are some decent adventure playgrounds and teen shelters appearing around the country. And if you can have a multi use games area or MUGA that’s even better. Here are some ideas for improving outdoor play areas for teenagers. This is what teenagers really want.
All too often teenagers get bad press for hanging around outside on street corners and other public places. But where else can teens go? If the council were to provide decent free open access places for teenagers to socialise, then the opinion of teenagers would improve.
Often there is only a kiddies playground in the area. When teenagers go on the swings, parents of the kiddies complain. I must admit that some teens don’t do anyone any favours by the use of bad language, unruly behaviour and vandalism. So, what should be the way forward?
Firstly, young people need to burn off their energy. You might think that some form of fitness equipment or outdoor adventure playground would be good. The thing about outdoor adventure playground equipment is that it often gets damaged and then the whole playground gets condemned for months and eventually just gets removed leaving an empty space!
The best solution seems to be to make an outdoor play area for teenagers by building a multi use games area (MUGA). The best organisation of an outdoor play area is to locate it on the opposite side of the playing field from the kiddies playground so that teenagers are less likely to play near young children and less likely to get moaned at.
Multi activity games areas consist of an all weather fenced pitch that can be used for basketball or football. It should include a teen shelter for young people to meet and chat while watching their friends playing. If there is one of those climbing walls, then the lads can show off their physical strength for their ladies.
Youth play equipment still seems to take second place over outdoor play areas for young children. Local councils should start building more outdoor play equipment for teenagers and give young people something constructive to do instead of just wandering the streets aimlessly. In return, teenagers need to respect the money invested in them by the provision of outdoor play areas for youth. Vandalism is a huge waste of money which is paid for by all of the adults who pay council tax. By causing vandalism and grafitti, teenagers are effectively wasting the very money that could be spent on providing outdoor play areas for them. At some point, hopefully teenagers will work this out and look after their own communities.
Caerlaverock Primary School, Dumfries
Teenrek were invited to consult with a Dumfries & Galloway Council, Architectural Services’ who were looking to provide a community facility in Caerlaverock. This partnership was charged with meeting the needs of local school children, young people and community sports participants.
A bespoke design was decided upon with would provide a smaller games area for smaller children and a larger area for older children and young people so that the maximum number of users could be accommodated. Teenrek worked in partnership with a local fencing contractor and a local groundwork contractor to meet the design brief.
In addition, the Multi User Games Area was designed to have 2 access points, 1 into the school and 1 out of the school. This enabled school children to use the area safely during breaks and games’ time and the rest of the community to have access out of school time while at the same time protecting the security of the school building.
The result of this partnership working, and project management by Teenrek, led to the creation of a completely unique solution to meet the needs of all concerned.
King Edward Park, Lockerbie
In early 2006 Teenrek were invited to visit King Edward Park in Lockerbie to consult with a Dumfries & Galloway Council, Combined Services’ officer who was represented a local community group. The group, were in the process of transforming their local park through fundraising and consultation to meet the needs of local children and young people.
Funds were available and it was decided that a Teenrek Combination Goal End would provide the opportunity for older children to play sports in a safe environment close to the smaller children’s play area which was already developed by the group and council in partnership. The Goal End was installed in the summer.
In early 2008, the continued success of the groups ability to raise funds led to further consultation about how the success of the Goal End could be the expanded upon. The flexibility and modularity of the Teenrek equipment meant that the existing Goal End could be incorporated into a new larger sports area.
The result of this consultation and flexibility led to Teenrek being able to design and manufacture a bespoke solution to meet both the needs of the young people and the budget of the group. The installation is now scheduled for late summer.
You can see more about multi use games areas at the Teenrek website.