Children from across Greater Manchester are about to embark on a month-long design and construction project to create new play equipment for Mayfield’s Courtyard Garden.
Dubbed Playfield, the project is the latest part of the Mayfield development to enlist the active input of grassroots organisations in the city and local communities to support its interim worthwhile activity at the city centre site.
The new equipment will act as a point of inspiration for the play elements within Mayfield’s 6.5-acre public park which will be created as the development unfolds in the coming years.
The Mayfield Partnership first brought new activity to the derelict site in the summer of 2017 with the opening of GRUB – a weekly street food festival which also included craft activates delivered by the Green Health Alliance: a group including Hulme Garden Centre, Real Food Wythenshawe and Debdale Eco Centre.
Work on Playfield will see children take part in a series of workshops both in classrooms and on site at Mayfield at project space: Underway. The sessions have been designed to help the children work together to produce three pieces of play equipment which will feature in the courtyard garden in time for its spring re-opening following the winter break.
Classroom-based workshops will be taking place at Medlock Primary School, Ardwick, with year three students, giving them the direct learning opportunity and strengthening the relationship between Mayfield and its neighbours. The link to Medlock School was established during the community consultation into the refreshed Strategic Regeneration Framework in March 2018. Ardwick is the closest established community to Mayfield and the Medlock children were treated to a special screening of a film during the Magical Christmas Movie Experience in December.
At Underway, workshops will be free to attend and open to all children from across Greater Manchester to encourage wide participation in the project and help to tell the Mayfield story.
Led by experienced designers, the children will explore the design process from idea development, through understanding materials before creating models from which the prototypes will be built on site. Activities will cover everything from graphic design for branding and exploring shapes, patterns and colours to masterplanning their dream park and learning about landscaping.
James Heather, development director at Mayfield, said: “We wanted to give local children a real stake in the future of Mayfield as it is them and their generation who will grow up seeing the new Mayfield emerge on their doorstep.
“The Mayfield Park, and the parts of that dedicated to play, were an obvious theme to explore with the children as they are the real experts on what is and isn’t appealing. The programme has been designed in close collaboration with their teachers to fit into the childrens’ learning requirements. We are really looking forward to seeing the designs that they come up with.”
Headteacher, Mr Jon Brown, added: “All of our year three children are really excited to be involved on the project, they can’t wait for it to begin. It will be fun for them like all the best learning should be and will provide them will skills for life.
“To give them exposure to the range of roles and disciplines out there in the real world at this age, is marvellous for their personal development. So many children simply do not understand the scope of the potential careers available to them.
“If they enjoy the project and let their imaginations run free, then we’ll be really pleased. If it broadens their horizons and opens their eyes to what their futures might hold, we’ll be overjoyed.”