North East Wales

'Junk' playground The Land, Wrexham inspires US guests

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Media captionStaff from two US projects are visiting The Land to learn more about the project

An adventure playground which encourages children to take risks, build and destroy the area is hoping to provide inspiration to visiting US play workers.

The Land in Wrexham is a "junk" play area which uses waste or recyclable material for children to use on site.

An American documentary maker made a film about it earlier this year to raise awareness in the US.

Staff from two US projects are visiting to learn more about it.

The Land was set up in January 2012 after receiving funding from the Waste Recycling Environmental Network (Wren).

It was originally a piece of waste ground where children would come to play anyway but would often be moved on because it was perceived as being unsafe.

Claire Griffiths, play department manager at the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham, which manages The Land, described the site as "quite beautiful", with water running through and trees, making it attractive to children.

"We put a fence up to protect the private space and enable the children to build dens but for them to be there the next day when they return.

"It's shaped by children who attend. It's open access provision so children come and go as they please.

"They build dens, saw, hammer; they create and they destroy.

"They play with fire, they sail things in the water."

Eight staff work at the site and there is a full-time worker who helps children use the site who could not do so independently.

Image caption The site welcomes parents, and local residents do voluntary work to help out

Last year, American film-maker Erin Davis visited The Land after hearing about the site through play workers and on Facebook.

She returned at Easter and spent nearly a month filming at the site, including fitting the children with head cameras to get their point of view.

Her film sparked interest in two US play workers who are now on a fact-finding visit to the adventure playground.

Joan Almon, co-founder for the US Alliance for Childhood, said: "There is growing interest in play work and in adventure playgrounds in the US which, at the moment only has four, all on the west coast.

"An American filmmaker making a documentary about The Land introduced us to this exciting place.

"We think it will serve as a powerful example of what children can do when they are allowed to play freely in an adventurous space and in the presence of skilled play workers.

Image caption The documentary made about The Land will be out in the New Year

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