From botanic to bionic: Rhyl to install first i.play in Wales!
Rhyl's Botanical Gardens will be given a 21st century makeover this year, when Denbighshire County Council installs the first i.play in Wales.
The Intelligent Play System (i.play) is revolutionary electronic playground equipment developed as a method of tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity, by making exercise enjoyable for children whose idea of fun has more to do with videogames than sport. In line with the Welsh National Assembly's Health and Well-being Agenda, i.play will be instrumental in improving Rhyl's sport and play provision.
The Health and Well-being Agenda establishes children, young people and families as priority areas, and aims to tackle health issues at the first possible stage. Setting a new standard for play areas throughout Wales, i.play blends physical activity with videogame playability, getting the region's 'PlayStation generation' hooked on healthy, interpersonal play.
Denbighshire County Council's principal parks, playgrounds and playing fields officer, Mike Hall, believes cross-departmental working is crucial for promoting healthy living in all areas. Commenting on the installation, he said: "We were particularly keen to allocate some of leisure services' hard won budget to i.play. We're all sharpening our efforts to turn Wales into an active nation. It is the most pioneering equipment I've seen, and can't fail to be a hit with children. And anything that gets kids interested in sport and taking responsibility for their own health is a definite hit with me."
Playdale spokesperson Barry Leahey concludes: "Recent press attention has focused on Wales' 'patchy' exercise provision, so it comes as no surprise that not even a quarter of Welsh children get the recommended sixty minutes of exercise a day. Widespread calls for a fitness tsar do, however, demonstrate that attitudes are moving in the right direction. Developments like i.play transform public spaces by providing free, local opportunities for healthy outdoor play and exercise, and are a significant step towards spreading a fun, healthy culture throughout Wales."