OLYMPIC LEGACY DELIVERS WILD KINGDOM FOR STRATFORD CHILDREN

The first legacy project to be delivered after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games opened yesterday at Three Mills Green in Stratford.

Wild Kingdom is a unique and distinctive new play area where children can really let their imagination roam.

Wild Kingdom has been designed to allow children of all ages to create their own playground from the natural surroundings. Carefully placed fallen trees, nets and ropes provide climbing frames and swings, whilst giant tree stumps, branches and hammocks provide the tools to build dens. Wild Kingdom also has more traditional play equipment including a maypole swing and trampoline but all have a natural twist.

Yesterday’s launch event included  story-telling workshops where children heard the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk and planted their own “magic beans” and craft workshops in which children made wallpaper flowers, both organised by Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford.

This £123,000 play area was commissioned by The Legacy List and London Legacy Development Corporation in collaboration with Lee Valley Regional Park.

An auction held by The Legacy List in September 2011 raised money for the Wild Kingdom; the names of donors have been carved into a stone at the entrance to the playground. Donors included Tracey Emin, Young Global Leaders and Anita and Poju Zabludowicz.

Dennis Hone, interim Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation said:

“Wild Kingdom encapsulates the legacy of London 2012. It is imaginative, it encourages physical exercise and learning about the natural environment and it is a great new facility for those living closest to the Olympic Park.

“The Legacy Corporation is delighted to open the first legacy project post-Games. It’s going to be an exciting 12 months as we get the Olympic site ready to open as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

People living in Newham and the neighbouring boroughs can expect similarly excellent facilities when the first phase of the Park opens on the 27th July 2013, exactly one year after the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.”

Sarah Weir, Chief Executive of The Legacy List said:

“This is our first permanent project since we started the charity in 2011 and we are delighted to have commissioned and supported this imaginative and creative playspace in Three Mills which offers much needed play for young people.

“With the support of our patrons and donors this playground will become a place of learning about nature and the environment, of giving impromptu performances, listening to story telling activities and much more. The ongoing life of the playground in the coming months will see more opportunities for young people to respond to this distinctive landscape and take ownership of the Wild Kingdom.”

Michael Rye, Vice Chairman of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said:

“Wild Kingdom at Three Mills Green is a fantastic benefit from the Olympics and is part of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s commitment to working with partner organisations to deliver a tangible legacy from the Games

“Communities from across the capital will be able to enjoy this innovative open space in a key part of Lee Valley Park with youngsters getting a taste of playing in a unique natural environment. We are confident that Wild Kingdom will be one of many legacy benefits for the capital’s communities.”

The scheme was designed by architectural practice We Made That and contractors Free Play, following an international competition organised by the Architecture Foundation.

The natural play area has been constructed by The Landscape Group and took two months to complete. It is part of a wider programme of improvements at Three Mills Green in Bow, east London which has included £1m Mayoral funding from the Olympic Fringe programme and a further £50,000 towards landscaping from Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The area is a key part of the 26 mile long Lee Valley Regional Park.

The design team have also worked with the Building Crafts College in Stratford, Community Links in Newham and the Play Association of Tower Hamlets to deliver both the play area and the community engagement activities.