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Newby Primary School’s nursery and reception, at Ryan Street, are to receive a brand new sand play area this January thanks to the Better Place Project, which is part of the National Lottery funded Better Start Bradford programme. The naturalistic sand play zone, which will include equipment, sensory planting and large rocks, will encourage children to interact with their environment. The school grounds are open for the community to use during out-of-school hours and holidays, and it’s hoped this new area will be of particular use for local stay-and-play groups and local families with children aged 0-3. The works are part of a major refurbishment of the nursery and reception play space which the school has implemented as funding has become available. Parents and the local community have also made a significant contribution to the development of the play space. The Better Place project and the school are both keen to encourage use of the school grounds by very young children with their carers and want to create a place where carers can confidently let children engage with messy play. Groundwork began delivering the three-year Better Place project last year to show how improving and investing in key features of the local environment can improve children’s emotional health and fitness and set them up for life. The Better Place project is working with the local community in the Better Start Bradford area of Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton, to develop safer and healthier places for children under four to play and walk, and increase access to outdoor spaces. The project also aims to find ways to reduce exposure to harmful traffic fumes for pregnant women and small children - exploring access to safe walking and cycling routes. The project is being delivered in collaboration with Bradford Council, Public Health, voluntary and community sector groups and other Better Start Bradford projects. Gill Thornton, Head of Programme, Better Start Bradford, said: “We’re really excited to see our first Better Place capital project happen. When we asked parents what would help to improve their children’s health outcomes they said that we needed to improve the environment. In the next few years we want to work with those parents to improve parks and green spaces, to extend play options and make being outdoors a realistic and healthy choice for our babies and toddlers.”

This funding from Better Place has been a major boost

Janice Stephenson, Headteacher, Newby Primary School, explained: “This funding from the Better Place project has been a major boost for the continued development of our play facilities. We have always had really strong links with our local community and see our school as being a valuable resource. This partnership with Better Start Bradford means we can continue to improve the opportunities that we can offer our children and their families.” Diana Brown, Landscape Design Team Leader, Groundwork North, East & West Yorkshire, added: “This project is an inspirational example of what can be done where a school and their local community work together to make and maintain fantastic places for young children to play in and explore the outdoors. The benefits of playing outside to young children’s health and wellbeing is now really well proven and this project makes that outdoor play a joy.” Better Start Bradford is made possible thanks to a £49 million National Lottery Community Fund grant.