Muzykivka Playground Network
In the village of Muzykivka in the Kherson Region, concerned local residents worked together with the United Charitable Foundation to put up new playgrounds for children.
The movement to create play spaces for children has some momentum in the Kherson region. It all started with the successful implementation of a project supported by the British Council’s Active Citizens programme in the small town of Muzykivka in the Kherson region called Decentralising our Playgrounds.
Project initiator Lyudmila Pohribna says: "The idea of creating a playground network had been around for a while, even before my eldest daughter was born. But we didn’t know how we could do it. We didn’t think we could overcome community inertia and anything we put up wouldn’t survive even a single year.”
So, the project team conducted an informational campaign to win over locals on the real need and importance of playgrounds. Together, they came up with a design and found a reliable builder and put up safe and sturdy multifunctional playground sets which the parents themselves installed.
"We spent all our Saturdays out working the grounds—levelling, pulling weeds, installing rubber tyre barriers, putting up fencing. We came up with child-sized toy cars and painted the equipment. We organized a festival opening and showed this great place where we could all spend some fun time together.”
Following the lead of this project a playground network has sprung up in Muzykivka, providing parents and kids with a great platform for recreation and communication.
Most important, this effort to build this space for our kids keeps going. It’s visible in the number of projects of this design that have made it onto the Muzykivka Council budget. Over these two years, five more independent projects of this type have been submitted.
The example of Muzykivka has inspired other neighbouring villages, with similar projects going up in the towns of Skhidniy, Vysuntsi, Zahoryanivka and Shkurinivka.
SECRETS OF THE PROJECT’S SUCCESS
1. Talk to everybody. You don’t know where or with whom you’ll find support: on the bus, in your kitchen at home or on Facebook.
2. Involve children in building their own space so they can really take ownership of it.
3. Think ahead. Today you’ve got this event and that equipment but tomorrow you find out you need space for a bike path and football.