Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Clean Air and the Chair of London’s largest independent funder learnt how the capital’s oldest adventure playground became a hub for hundreds of local children to learn and play.

Councillor Claire Holland, Cabinet Member for Environment and Clean Air, Alison Gowman, Chair of the City Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee and Dhruv Patel, Deputy Chairman of the City Bridge Trust Committee, spent the morning at Triangle Adventure Playground learning about the project’s work and it how it supports hundreds of young people across the borough. The site is run by charity the Triangle Adventure Playground Association.

Charity funder and council leader take tour of historic playground

The project, in Ashmole Street, recently received £48,000 of funding from City Bridge Trust, the City Corporation’s charitable funder, towards the charity’s work with young people on environmental activities, including growing and cooking fresh food in the site’s small allotment.

In 2007 the charity built a small allotment in a corner of the playground managed by a parent volunteer who taught children how to plant and grow crops.

This grew into a popular activity in its own right with children learning how to prepare food from fresh ingredients including vegetables and herbs they had grown on the allotment.

City Bridge Trust awarded funding for a specialist Environmental Playworker to run the scheme, teaching the children about the environment, biodiversity and cooking.

Alison Gowman, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“It’s important to see first-hand how our funding is making a difference, and in this case, providing children with fresh, healthy food for lunch as well as teaching them about cooking and growing their own produce.

“It is clear this charity contributes to the health, wellbeing and happiness of many local children in Lambeth, whilst at the same time providing a safe space to learn, play and make new friends.

“We are committed to working with charity projects in Lambeth and right across London’s boroughs, tackling disadvantage and making the capital a fairer and better place to live.”

Jim Clancey, Chair of the Triangle Adventure Playground Association, said:

“The grant from the City Bridge Trust has given our inner-city children new horizons. They have met otters, groomed horses, made butter from milk, been outside of London and camped in the dark for the first time and then come back to their playground and made compost and grown and eaten fruit and veg.

“It has been a real delight seeing them grow from timid children afraid of creepy crawlies and getting their hands dirty to robust gardeners, discussing horse slobber, checking their compost and undertaking worm counts.”

Councillor Claire Holland, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Environment & Clean Air, said:

“Triangle is a wonderful example of young people gaining a whole breadth of experience to which they otherwise would not be exposed to.

“For over 60 years the playground has been a key part of young people’s lives in Lambeth and thanks to grants like this from City Bridge Trust, the great work can continue.

“Giving young people this support, learning and opportunity is crucial to helping them fulfil their potential.

“The legacy of projects like this last a lifetime.”

Founded in May 1957, Triangle Adventure Playground is thought to be the longest surviving adventure playground in the country. Primarily serving the Ashmole Estate and the Oval Ward in Lambeth, the site, which was recently named Playground of the Year at the London Play Association’s annual awards ceremony, supports over 700 young people.

City Bridge Trust is currently supporting 35 organisations through grants in the borough of Lambeth – totalling £3.9million.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.