Green-fingered kids go wild as healthy food scheme is extended

An adventure playground founded amid the rubble of post-war south London is expanding a scheme which allows children to get their hands dirty and learn about where food comes from.

The nature club at Triangle Adventure Playground – the oldest such facility in the capital still on its original site – helps children learn about biodiversity and the natural world and grow, cook and eat their own food.

It will be launching a family allotment club and ramping up growing of fruit and veg at its site in Oval to provide healthy food to families in need; and running sessions for mums and toddlers to inspire green-fingered children from an early age.

The new schemes are made possible thanks to a £48,000 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee Dhruv Patel said:

“Allowing children to be creative, to come up with their own ideas, to get dirty, build relationships with their peers and enjoy outdoor play is a really important for healthy child development.

“This funding will enable Triangle to extend its activities in the community and to help more children – and their families – learn about nature and enjoy the benefits of healthy, nutritious food.”

Triangle was set up in 1957 by Marjorie Porter – head teacher at nearby Ashmole Primary School – inspired by a Danish trend for child-led play and the sight of youngsters making their own fun in the rubble of World War Two bomb sites.

Its ethos of ‘free play’ sees youngsters from six to 17 roam outdoors in a safe and supervised environment, have fun on equipment such as swings and a zipwire, enjoy arts and crafts activities and even build their own huts.

Veronika Garwolinski, Chair of the Triangle Adventure Playground Association, said:

“When children first come to us they’re often squeamish about getting their hands in the soil, but we see them go on a journey where it becomes second nature to them as they enjoy the health benefits that come from immersing themselves in the natural world.

“We have many families in this area who don’t have a lot of money and struggle to access fresh, healthy food, and it’s great to see children not only developing a passion for nature and food growing but also inspiring the same interest in their parents.”

More information on Triangle Adventure Playground is at www.triangleadventureplayground.com

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case studies: ‘I like getting dirt on my hands!’

Nylah Small, aged nine, from Loughborough Junction, has been attending the nature club at Triangle for a year.

She said: “Nature Club has helped me to get more creative as my imagination is already wild and bursting from its shell. It's helped me to be attracted to the animals all around me. Nature Club helped me grow my own Aloe Vera at home which has given me the inspiration to draw plant drawings. It's all amazing fun."

Binh An Penrose-Do, aged seven, from Camberwell has been attending Nature Club for three years.

She said: “I really like eating the things that we grow. My favourite was the gooseberries. I also like planting because I like getting dirt on my hands!”

Picture captions (credit Triangle Adventure Playground)

TAPG NC1.jpeg – Gabbi Hyman cleaning out the recycled bath pond to introduce native water plants and snails

TAPG NC2.jpeg – Gabbi Hyman filling the recycled bath pond with native water plants and snails

TAPG NC6.jpeg – Noa Garcia, Tiana Belle, Shayon Lokko and Rose Wilson cutting down the spent raspberry canes

TAPG NC13.jpeg – Genevieve Halstead, Emma Davis and Aaliyah Davis Harvesting lemon balm to make cold drinks in the summer

TAPG NC24.jpeg – Shiloh Assis-Antonio finding a furry caterpillar on the minibeast hunt

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, has allocated £15.5 million to the London Community Response, set up to help charities deal with the impact of coronavirus, and has also given over £1.7 million in one-off grants to 202 organisations it already supports to help them offset lost income resulting from the pandemic.

The London Community Response Fund is administered by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge House Estates and Members of its Court of Common Council form the City Bridge Trust Committee, responsible for taking grant and funding decisions for the charity.

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk