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Play and Recreational Areas in Thurston

Managing Play Areas, Gym Trail and Community Shelter in Thurston

Thurston Parish Council, having reviewed the guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms and being aware of guidance from the Association of Play Industries states that:

  • The government public health guidelines are a considerable challenge to the Parish Council as an operator of open space facilities.
  • The Parish Council needs to be aware of its duty of care both to public and its staff.

In reopening the play areas in Thurston, the Parish Council recognises and acknowledges the evidence and conclusion contained with the report COVID and Children’s Play recently commissioned by the Play Safety Forum (PSF) which concluded that:

  • The benefits to children of playing outside bring a host of social, emotional and physical rewards. These have long been undervalued and at this time appear to have been completely ignored. Consequently, children are suffering harm.
  • The evidence is that the risks posed by COVID-19 to children playing in outdoor spaces is very low

As such the Parish Council has carried out relevant Covid-19 Site Assessments on the Play Areas operated by the Parish Council and issues the following statements in relation to the Use of the Play Equipment, the Gym Trail and the newly installed Community Shelter on the New Green Open Space (effective 16 December 2020)

  • Scientific advice suggests that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to several days on some hard surfaces
  • The risks are reduced when outdoors, where surfaces may be subject to UV light and/or rain.
  • Whilst all possible practical measures have been put in place the user of all equipment does so at their own choice and risk.
  • The following guidelines should be followed by all users of all play equipment, gym trail and community shelter:
  • Use hand sanitiser at regular intervals if you have to touch communal surfaces

  • Remember there are clear touch points such as swing rockers, see saws, machine handles or exercise bars
  • Parents please bring hand sanitiser gel or wipes to clean your child’s hands particularly at the beginning and end of play
  • All users are advised not to touch their faces, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue or arm when a tissue is not available (parents of users please assist those in their care) 
  • All users should not put their mouths on equipment or their hands in their mouths after touching the equipment
  • All users (including parents, guardians and carers) must observe the social distancing rules in place
  • Users are encouraged to bring their own towel and hygiene products to wipe down equipment – please dispose of considerately
  • Consumption of food and drink is not permitted in the enclosed areas
  • Please use litter bins provided or take litter home
  • Once you are home, remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or approved gel and foam sanitiser