Parents and children from Knowle West were celebrating the opening of the long-awaited playground at Inns Court today (July 31).
Opened by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, the playground had taken a year to plan, in consultation with local people and a school – and was constructed by Bristol City Council in just six weeks.
Mr Ferguson, who was the original architect for the Inns Court Centre, said he was happy to be back in the area.
He said: “It’s changed so much over the years and we should celebrate that… what I really welcome is that local people have worked so closely with the local council to plan this park…”
He said his aim was to make Bristol a ‘child friendly city’ and it was “fitting” the park was being opened in the year of the European Green Capital.
Mr Ferguson thanked the Inns Court Residents Association, the children and head of Greenfields School and the Knowle West Project Board for their hard work.
He said: “This playground belongs to Inns Court and that’s really important – I want you to feel it is really your park.”
One of the main talking points in the play park was the 11ft tall tree sculpture – a carved giant redwood trunk created by Wood Carver Andy O’Neill, using a chain saw.
He told the Knowledge: “It took ten days to do, it’s my take on the Tree of Life which is a really ancient symbol to show the interconnection of everything from the roots in the ground up to the air.
“I’m lucky because I got so much positive feedback about it and I had people coming to watch me working on it…”
Mum Gemma Maggs (31) from Inns Court came to the park opening with her three children Josh (6), Freya (4) and two-year-old Emilia.
She said: “It’s really lovely. We’ve been walking past here a lot and the children have been very eager. It will keep them occupied over the summer, otherwise we would have to go to Hengrove.
“I think it will improve the community, make it easier for my children to meet their school friends and it’s safe…”
Bristol City Council’s Inns Court Park Project Manager Teresa Crichton said: “It’s very much needed in the area because it’s on route to the shops and school and the mums have told me it nice to have the chance to get to know other mums while the children are playing…”
The event was also promoting Bristol City Council’s One Tree Per Child Project – which aims to give a tree to every primary school child in Bristol to plant over the year.
Youngsters were treated to story telling about trees from Sarah Green and Oisin Davis-Lyon who are running workshops and creating animations in schools around tree planting.