Enhanced play facilities for children open in Jubilee Gardens

Reopened playground offers new nautical Thames themed play equipment for younger children and for those with differing abilities as well as more sensory sound vision and touch experiences.

Local MP Florence Eshalomi and Cllr Claire Holland, the Leader of Lambeth Council, joined local councillors and Jubilee Gardens Trust Members along with children from Oasis Academy Johanna and Coin Street Nursery on Thursday May 26 to celebrate the reopening of the new and enhanced playground at Jubilee Gardens on Belvedere Road, SE1.

The playground caters for all children from toddlers to age 11 by offering enough risk that users with high physical ability have opportunities to push themselves while also ensuring there are numerous accessible opportunities for play for those with disabilities to engage with and join in with other children.

The works have been funded by Lambeth Council using developer contributions towards improvements for the local area.

Our new large Play Ship is ideal for younger children providing unlimited opportunities for adventure from climbing and a double slide to imaginative play as ship’s captain on the bridge! New sensory and accessible items such as Conferences, talking tubes installed along the perimeter of the fence including some at seated height, help to create safe spaces which are accessible and enjoyable for many people that are neurodivergent. Wheelchair users and those in prams have been considered in the design with a Rocking Plate located near to the entrance, a bespoke Pairs Game, including icons associated with London and the South Bank and a Stroking Stone Seal a friendly creature to touch, sit and play on. The smooth shapes of the concrete form provide a different tactile experience for all users. For children with limited mobility a Sea-Roarer can be tilted and rolled by shifting their weight on the large steel disc creating crashing wave sounds of a rolling ocean.

Unusually, for a prime Central London open space, Jubilee Gardens is managed by a small locally based charitable trust, comprising representatives of local residents, businesses and adjacent landowners.

Ted Inman, Chair of the Jubilee Gardens Trust which manages the gardens, said: “Over 8m people visited Jubilee Gardens every year prior to the pandemic and the playground is a much-loved essential play space for local children and visitors to enjoy. As a charity we rely on grants to keep Jubilee Gardens safe and beautiful. We are grateful for the s106 funding from Southbank Place provided through Lambeth Council which enabled us to make this much needed upgrade to the playground.”

Cllr Holland said “Playgrounds and greenspaces like Jubilee Gardens are essential for children’s wellbeing, particularly for the 70 per cent of local residents who don’t have access to a garden. The reopening of this playground is great news for local children who have a safe, challenging and fun environment in which to enjoy being outdoors and with their peers. It is particularly important that the playground caters for all children and is genuinely inclusive to their needs.”

Managing Director Paul Collings of Timberplay who created the playground, said “Jubilee gardens is an exceptional play space used by thousands of people each day, the design we created ensures its longevity for years to come. Play is key in the development of children on every level and Jubilee Gardens plays a major role in this within central London and is a project we are extremely proud to be involved with.”

“Sustainable management of the Jubilee Gardens refurbishment was considered during the design process. We identified where we could re-use timbers from the playground to ensure as little waste as possible and we have also re-used safety surfacing where possible making only repairs around the new play pieces”

Jubilee Gardens next to the London Eye were created in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. They were re-landscaped in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee and visited by The Queen in that Jubilee year. The playground reopens in time for the 2012 Jubilee Gardens to celebrate its 10th anniversary and for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.