The volunteers have gathered at Westerland Valley Country Park on a Sunday morning to help with a practical task that will improve the site for wildlife and people alike.

The Geoplay Park, its different play zones signifying geological periods within the English Riviera Geopark. Photo: Torbay CouncilThe Geoplay Park, its different play zones signifying geological periods within the English Riviera Geopark. Photo: Torbay Council

They are unexpectedly joined by three five year olds who are fascinated by the volunteers and their task of cutting back a hawthorn hedge.

The trio seem particularly focussed on the wheelbarrow, confidently assuring the group that it is for dirt and asking if they can help to find some.

The three children eventually drift off, set on the more important business of play.

As we go into another national lockdown, it is worth bearing in mind just how important play is for children. It can help them learn, test ideas and work out how to socially interact, as well as helping to burn off some energy!

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Parks and green spaces can provide safe places for children, where they can escape into their imagination and forget the worries that may be on their minds, even if it’s just for a short time.

Green space groups such as the Friends of Victoria Park in Chelston know this, that’s why they’ve been holding a ‘Play Day’ each summer for the last ten years or so, with the support of Play Torbay.

The small but dedicated group of volunteers at the Geoplay Park on Paignton seafront know this, that’s why they are out there, rain or shine, keeping an eye on things and providing invaluable practical on-site care.

The Friends of Upton Park in Torquay know this, that’s why they applied for Government funding through ‘Pocket Parks’ to install some new play equipment this autumn.

Torbay Council know this, that’s why they’re working with Groundwork South, to better understand what support green space groups need to help them with the serious business of play.

Now that you know this, is there a way you might be able to help more children to access green spaces and play in Torbay?

To find out more about getting involved with caring for Torbay Green Spaces, contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk