New equipment is a hit in Bedlington park

The new SONA dance and play arch being used by local children.
The new SONA dance and play arch being used by local children.

Youngsters are benefiting from a new state-of-the-art piece of electronic play equipment.

Leading Link has been working with residents, community groups and local authorities to help revitalise Doctor Pit Park in Bedlington.

The partnership has been making a series of improvements to the park’s horticulture, landscaping and infrastructure, and has now installed an interactive SONA dance and play arch after securing funding from Northumberland County Council and the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund.

The arch, believed to be the only one of its kind in the region, combines the best of outdoor play with digital and interactive activities.

Ten different activities can be selected via its single button control, including dance battles, reaction races and an animal quest.

A motion sensor at the top of the arch recognises and responds to movements below, and speakers on the inside of the arch ensure that sounds are kept within the immediate space.

Lyn Horton, manager at Leading Link, said: “Doctor Pit Park has provided a home for sporting, leisure and play activities for generations of local families.”

“But it had become somewhat run down and wasn’t proving as popular as it ought to have.

“Leading Link is delighted to have been involved in taking an inclusive approach to revitalising the park by working with a wide range of local groups and residents of all ages to identity, plan and make the improvements that they wanted to see.

“The play arch is a fantastic piece of equipment that encourages children to be both active and creative, and it can be used by everybody in so many different ways.

“There’s been a brilliant response so far, with lots of great feedback from local children and schools, and since it’s the only one in the region that we know of, we think it’s going to prove a real magnet for families from right across the area to make the first of hopefully many visits to the park.”

The arch is already proving popular with the growing numbers of local people who are visiting the park.

Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at The Banks Group, added: “Leading Link and their young people’s vision and commitment has added a great deal to the facilities available at the Doctor Pit Park, and we’re very happy to have been part of bringing such a terrific piece of equipment to Bedlington.”

Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.