Year  |  2019
Location  |  Manor, Sheffield
Client  |  Pipworth Community Primary School

Pipworth Green Live Project was based at Pipworth Community Primary School in Manor, Sheffield. While Manor as an area suffers from severe deprivation and a poor reputation, the school itself is a vibrant community with excitable children and enthusiastic teachers.

The original project brief was to take a holistic overview of the school’s existing playground spaces, and consider means for providing the schoolchildren with safe access to an existing astro-turf MUGA (multi-use games area) on the adjacent recreation ground – Pipworth Green.

The project team engaged with the leaders of after-school clubs, members of the PTA, school governors, local councillors, the community action group, and a local park management organisation. All of this allowed us to gain a thorough understanding of life in Manor, the challenges in the area and what is missing from public community spaces. These include a lack of space for children, limited facilities for after school clubs, no places for teenagers, and a lack of opportunities for elderly and vulnerable people to get out of the house.

We also engaged with the schoolchildren, through assemblies, talking to them at playtime, and a design workshop, asking them about their favourite activities, what is missing from their current playground, and what their dream playground might look like. Through engagement with the children and the wider community, this brief expanded to include two main approaches.

Firstly we responded directly to conversations with the children and school staff, creating immediate interventions on the playground, including a dance stage, netball court markings, a cricket strip, and an interactive mural which was co-designed with the children.

Our second approach responded to the original brief: to connect the school with the adjacent MUGA, so we began developing a strategy that would provide safe access, while also allowing the community to use the existing facilities. We developed a strategy for the whole site, considering a number of intended users, which could be used for funding applications. The masterplan was designed to be phased, with an initial link made between the school and the MUGA, and further redevelopment as more investment becomes available – a running track, playground, café and amphitheatre, and later a nature trail and boardwalk. We also proposed a ‘day-in-the-life’, to consider which groups might use the space each day.

To hand over the project we produced a series of booklets, outlining what we had done, the vision for the area, and the next steps for the project. We also held a community event to present our ideas to the local community. We cleaned up the area through a litter-pick, planted bulbs, and we engaged with children, parents, teachers and locals to present our strategy for the site. We also provided the school with a timeline of next steps, with a phased plan, and guidance of suitable funding providers.

The live project represents the very first stages of this process, but prove the viability of this addition to the local community and a drive amongst local people for real change.