Local young people have joined forces with a leading construction company in order to improve a popular adventure playground.

A group of 16 – 19-year-olds have been busy designing and building a new sandpit and water play area in the Somerford Grove Adventure Playground just off Park Lane in north Tottenham as part of a ‘pre-apprenticeship programme’.

The new sandpit replaces the previous one located at the bottom of a large slide and will add a fabulous new feature to the playground which has enriched the lives of children in the area for the past dozen years.

new sandpit design

“On the second day I moved to Tottenham I found the adventure playground and I just started playing there,” said one of the volunteers, Edward Pereira, aged 17. “It was great because there are not many green spaces around here and it helps the kids off the streets. So it’s nice for me now to give something back and I’m also learning lots about construction which is what I want to do for a living.”

Edward and the other youngsters have been aided by staff from engineering and construction company’s VolkerFitzpatrick’s rail division which is currently improving Northumberland Park’s railway station. The company organised site visits at the station, and up the road at their project in Enfield’s Meridian Water, followed by a construction workshop activity a few days later at the playground.

Completed sandpit

VolkerFitzpatrick and Haringey Play Association (which runs the playground) were brought together through the Tottenham Charter – an initiative set up by Haringey Council to ensure that Tottenham residents get the most from regeneration in the area. A range of charities, housing developers and companies like VolkerFitzpatrick have each committed to playing their part in providing opportunities and benefits to residents in areas such as: jobs, health, education and training.

“The Tottenham Charter is a really good idea and we are very keen to reach out to the local community to try and make a difference,” said Maxine Stephens project skills co-ordinator at VolkerFitzpatrick. “Rather than just coming into a place and walking away we want to leave a legacy and it’s about planting that seed. We give local youngsters opportunities so they can come and see what we do and undertake construction activities to hopefully inspire them to wanting a career in the construction industry.”

Mayor and young people who took part on the scheme

The pre-apprenticeship programme is part of the Beyond Boundaries initiative, part founded by Haringey Play Association, and funded by organisations including the Northumberland Park Partnership Board.