Pupils help plan park development

Information sharing...East Gore School principal Wendy Kitto and pupils (back from left) Te Korowhiti Morrell- Edwards, Alex Robinson (both 10), Carissa Harpur (9) and Sophia Hadfield (11). (front from left) Sharnie Waikare-Parkes, Aylissa Wilson (both 9), Brooke Crampton (12) and Blake Bull (11) shared information about play opportunities avail able in East Gore at the mini launch of the East Gore Neighbourhood Play Systems project last week. The pupils in the front row are holding some of the photoboards the pupils made. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A safe way to cross Railway Esplanade to Hamilton Park is one of the suggestions made in an East Gore residents’ survey.

The survey is part of the East Gore Neighbourhood Play Systems project which is being undertaken by East Gore School and Active Southland.

The survey aimed to find information which would be used to create an environment that promoted play for all ages in the area.

Feedback from the survey completed by residents and East Gore School pupils was presented at a mini launch of the project last week.

Covid alert level restrictions meant numbers attending were limited but a community launch of the project will be held next year.

Staff from the Gore District Council, police, the Community Networking Trust, Ministry of Education and the school board of trustees were invited to the event.

East Gore School principal Wendy Kitto welcomed guests to the launch.

The project was about involving everyone in the community, Ms Kitto said.

“There are five green spaces in East Gore so let’s look at these green spaces and see how we can take them to the next level to develop play for all of our ages,” Ms Kitto said.

“We need spaces that can challenge, inspire and create laughter for all ages which then enhances their own wellbeing.”

Guests then walked to the nearest park on Oxford St to consider how it could be improved, what was there that was good but could be “zhooshed up”and whether there were any safety concerns.

Once the group returned to the school they were invited to pin their feedback up on notes.

Nine pupils then shared the result of their study into the various areas of East Gore they thought needed improving.

Active Southland Community School Connector Cheyenne Ballantine has been working with the staff and pupils from years 4-6 for the past three months.

After the launch Ms Ballantine said pupils had taken part in three activities to help them think about how to improve play opportunities in East Gore.

They were asked to draw a map of the play opportunities they saw on the way to school.

One interesting result of the drawings was pupils who walked past Hamilton Park left it off their maps, she said.

“They didn’t see it as an area of play because they can’t get to it.”

Pupils were shown photographs of green spaces and asked for their feedback.

The pupils were then sent out into the community with cameras to take photographs of areas where play spaces could be improved, spaces where play opportunities could be created and any safety concerns.

Information from nine of the pupils was displayed on photoboards.

The next step in the project is to form a group which will take the feedback and come up with an action plan.