WORK on a new play area in one of Bradford's biggest parks is now complete, and children wasted no time in testing out the new equipment after yesterday's grand opening.

After it was announced that one of the two play areas in Peel Park would be removed in 2018, local families rallied around and convinced Bradford Council to change its mind.

Work then began on developing a new nature inspired play area, with large stone rocks to climb, a grassy mound to run up and rope bridges to balance on.

It’s a more physically challenging site designed to encourage the use of a child’s imagination whilst developing essential physical skills.

The development of the play area has been funded through JU:MP, the Sport England local delivery pilot in Bradford and designed by local families with the Friends of Peel Park group, Bradford Council and JU:MP.

The park was opened yesterday afternoon.

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Jane Lees is vice-president of The Friends of Peel Park who led the charge to keep the play area two years ago. She said: "We are really excited that JU:MP have been able to fund the creation of a fantastic natural play area at the Bolton Road end of Peel Park. We had a major battle on our hands to ensure that children had a high quality play experience available to them and want to thank the 600 people that signed our petition to save the site in 2018.

“Having secured the play area for the future we are very happy with this new natural play area that gives young children the challenge of climbing natural materials that fit in with our aim to make Peel Park a great place for children to play.”

The development of the play area is instrumental in attracting local families to the park to be more active and enjoy being outside.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for healthy people and places, said: “We really need to invest in our children to ensure they have the play spaces they deserve in order to grow and develop.

“The development of this play space in Peel Park offers families a great place for the local community to visit, fit for the twenty first century.

“Play is not only important in tackling issues around obesity and ensuring children have a happy and healthy childhood. It is also an important part of their development in terms of dexterity, balance and muscle control as well as building relationships with other people.”

JU:MP Community Engagement Manager, Caroline Swain, champions outdoor play: “Outdoor play is vital for children to build resilience, develop physical skills, form links with nature and most of all have fun.

“JU:MP values the right for children to play, and have clean, appropriate, safe places to do this. This new play area provides local children with the opportunity to be outside in a place where they can explore and enjoy the natural surroundings.”

The JU:MP programme, led by Active Bradford, is one of 12 local delivery pilots across the country funded by Sport England to test and learn how we can build healthier, more active communities across England.

The programme aims to inspire, energise and support children and families to increase physical activity levels through more movement and play.