Mint Street Community Play Facility

Mint Street Adventure Play Facility was built in 1971, following a campaign by local people to reuse land behind the Evelina Children’s Hospital as a playground.  The adventure playground was operated by a voluntary sector organisation from its inception through to 1996.  The site has since been managed by the Southwark Council’s play service, which provides local children with the chance to play and learn in a safe environment.  Today, Mint Street offers more than just an adventure playground.  A huge variety of free opportunities and events for young people are available, ranging from sporting activities and music festivals to playgroups and life skills sessions.  Mint Street is an extremely well loved and well used community facility, however the building and associated play equipment have reached the end of their useful life.  The redevelopment of the facility provides not only the opportunity to upgrade the site and facilities, but to integrate it more successfully with the adjacent part and providing facilities better able to supply the community’s needs.

The local community albeit very excited to see the redevelopment of their facility were naturally worried that during the re-build project the centre would cease to be a focal point for the community and could be subject to vandalism and graffiti.  Neilcott liaised closely with local parent volunteers to discuss their ideas and the suggestions made by the children, to decorate the hoarding to retain the community feel, maintain its presence and dissuade unwanted attention.  The these of “my Mint Street” was established, encouraging the children to reflect on their memories of the old building.  The Mint Street “Candy Stripes” used in the Mint Street logo form the background for the hoarding.  Cut out silhouettes of children playing were provided by Neilcott, along with various painting and decorating materials.  This enabled children of all ages and abilities to create their own unique “self-portrait” to be displayed for the duration of the project.  In addition, circular cut outs of various sizes were provided for children to write their favourite memories of the old building on, with parents adding various quotes taken from the “Memory Book” which was situated in the old centre.  Perspex covered cuts outs where also made in the hoarding to enable progress of the new facility to be viewed by young and old throughout the construction period.

A number of community events were organised which saw parents involved in painting the candy stripes and children getting creative with their own designs.  Many families brought picnics on the Saturday event and stayed for the whole afternoon to watch the project come together.  There was a real sense of community spirit, enthusiasm and team work at each event, demonstrating how valuable Mint Street is to this community. Group-341