As any holiday park operator will tell you, happy and entertained children mean happy and relaxed parents. An exciting and challenging play area for all ages and abilities gives children somewhere to let off steam and make new friends as well as giving them some independence on holiday. Mike Harris, Director at Warren Farm Holiday Centre in Bream, Somerset invested in new playground facilities last year, designed and supplied by HAGS. He said: “We are known as a child friendly park, and people purposefully book plots near the play areas.
The initial outlay was definitely worthwhile and we have a large number of repeat visitors because of this, as well as many new ones.” “The more attractive, enticing, challenging and fun the outdoor play equipment is, the more likely it will be that visitors to the play area will continue to visit and enjoy all the facilities on offer and it could be the deciding factor on choice of holiday destination,” comments Stuart Wetherell for Wicksteed Playgrounds. Wicksteed was recently commissioned to create an impressive and imaginative playpark at Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick, Scotland. Reflecting the history of the area, a large bespoke timber castle-inspired feature takes pride of place at the centre of the play area. The custom-built castle is adorned with turrets, slides, climbing nets and monkey bars as well as a bridge over a moat and portcullis entrance.
The £300k play facility was developed as part of a £3.64m park regeneration project, funded by Scottish Borders Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. “Local children were involved with creating the designs and ideas for the play area and came up with the idea of incorporating Hawick’s history and scenery into the design. The play park proudly features a castle, river design, horse artwork and a common riding flag as part of the surface design,” commented Gordon Webber, Wilton Lodge Park Events Manager.
RANGE OF FEATURES : The play park features a range of different zones with play equipment suitable for a variety of age groups and abilities. A timber fenced area features sensory sound and visual items as well as a central carved timber totem pole. Wicksteed has become the go to for cleverly designed bespoke playgrounds which can reflect the history of the site or have a theme running throughout. The company has also developed an award-winning range of outdoor gym equipment, the FLZ, which is ideally suited to the holiday park environment and suitable for those aged 14 plus.
“Prices do of course vary depending upon the type of equipment, landscaping and installation but a product from Wicksteed’s Toddlers’ range might start at around £500 with individual, interactive panels from around £590,” explains the Stuart. “An entire playground which could contain multi-play, modular units together with fitness products would obviously require greater funds, so it all depends on the project in question. To achieve a ‘wow’ factor a new green site fully supplied area should have a budget of around £70K.”
Apart from keeping your play equipment and areas regularly checked to meet health and safety standards, there are no guidelines stipulating when a playground requires updating, this is solely down to playground owners. However, updating your equipment regularly to stay ahead of the competition will certainly help attract and retain customers, providing a greater return on investment.
It is recommended that any equipment purchased for unsupervised use is certified as compliant to EN1176 (the European Playground safety standard), this ensures that the equipment is designed and manufactured to a high standard and will provide an exciting and challenging experience while minimising risk. The safety of children on their playgrounds doesn’t just depend upon the initial design of the area and the selection of equipment within it. Its continued management and the delivery of high quality inspection and maintenance schedules are crucial if the safe opportunities for children to play creatively are to be preserved. Mark Rands, Head of UK Installation and Service at HAGS comments: “We know that a good maintenance regime will significantly extend the life of your equipment and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Regular servicing and replacement of worn out parts is essential to keep your play area safe and compliant.
“Remember it is the responsibility of the owner to keep the play area safe, delaying needed repairs not only shortens the life of the equipment but increases the risk of an accident. The inspection should cover the whole of the site - not just the play equipment. Pathways, fences and seats all need to be checked.”
HAGS is a global company with a product offering that stretches over an extensive range of thousands of play products– designed for people of all ages. They have gained over 50 years’ experience in providing both landscaped and traditional outdoor areas. The best-selling UniPlay and UniMini ranges from HAGS offer a vast number of play functions and games within a unique modular system.
HAGS offer a wide range of standard ready-made units for every size and budget, and additionally, all units can be customised by adding special features or games to create your ideal play space.
Liz Townsend, Head of UK Proposals for HAGS says: “Our customers want a play area that is visually striking and attractive – something that immediately captures the imagination of children and becomes memorable so families have a great time and want to return again. The design details are what holds a child’s attention for longer than a few minutes, for example: tower structures are very popular with all ages, even more so when they have interactive games and imaginative activities that can involve all generations.” Liz continues: “At HAGS we focus on a ‘cost per user’ model during the design process, this helps eliminate single user items that can be expensive to own for little return in place of items that offer great play and financial value for users and owners alike.”
“Play facilities are vital in holiday parks, in order to both attract and retain the family spend,” says David Robison of World of Rides. “2017 is going to be a milestone year for the UK’s holiday parks, as Brexit and the fluctuating exchange rates are making more and more families stay at home in the UK for their holidays. However, if operators do not invest in new equipment to entertain their visitors and guests during this exceptional year, then they may not return in future years.” World of Rides have served the holiday park industry with a fully comprehensive range of coin-operated leisure rides and equipment for nearly five decades, ranging from battery rides and static rides to quadricycles and rowing boats. “For the past few years our Go-Karts, Super Hero Trikes and licensed character static rides have been the firm favourites with children, but for 2017 holiday park operators are suddenly asking for our driving school cars and above ground pools with bumper boats, in order to satisfy the demand of their customers for new experiences,” says David.
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