St Mary’s “Spaceshapers” Meet Local MPs
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh joined Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Year 5 pupils from St Mary’s CofE Primary School on 11 December to launch a toolkit aimed at capturing young peoples’ views about their local parks, streets and squares. Spaceshaper 9-14 was launched by the two MPs at Wakefield based arts and architecture organisation, Beam.
The activity-based toolkit has been developed to capture the views of young people aged 9-14, who are often left out of decisions that affect their lives. It explores what young people think about how local places are used and how they can be improved. The St Mary’s pupils are using Spaceshaper 9-14 to help them improve the Berners Street park a few hundred yards from their school as part of Wakefield Council’s “Playbuilder” improvement programme.
Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield said: “I am delighted that once again Wakefield Council is leading the country in engaging young people. Work on the new Berners Park funded by £50 000 from the Government's Playbuilder grant will start in the New Year. Children from St Mary's will be able to enjoy a safe, fun playground which they helped to design.”
Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, said: “The young people I met at St Mary's have some great ideas about how to make the new park a fun place to spend time. I hope the Spaceshaper 9-14 toolkit will help to capture these ideas, and turn them into reality. When I'm visiting different areas I often meet our young designers, architects and town planners of the future who tell me how they've contributed to key decisions for their school, youth centre or play area. I want to encourage even more young people to get involved in the development of public spaces - and I hope this toolkit will help local authorities to make that happen.”
Robert Powell, Beam Executive Director said: ‘We believe passionately in the importance of meaningfully involving young people in thinking about and changing the places they use - their neighbourhoods, schools, parks and public spaces. We are delighted that the DCSF has supported this project and recognises the important role of regionally based architecture centres like Beam, Bristol and Kent, working in partnership with CABE.’