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Norfolk Rural Community Council provides an advisory service to playing field managers in rural Norfolk.

This service recognises that unlike urban play provision rural areas are almost entirely reliant upon volunteers to provide and maintain play facilities and recreational green space. NRCC aims to provide advice, information and support to voluntary community groups, e.g. village hall and playing field managers, and to town and parish councils involved in the provision of rural play and green spaces.

The importance of physical activities to the health of children and young people is one of the primary concerns of twenty first century living. Over the last ten years there has been growing recognition for the fact that children have less access to the outdoor environment than their parents had when they were young. Concerns for the safety of children have resulted in an erosion of natural play environments and even in some cases with the loss of artificial ones. The importance of play spaces in providing stimulating choices for personally directed and intrinsically motivated play cannot be over-stressed. NRCC recognises these facts and therefore rates the provision of an advisory and support service in htis area as one it's leading priorities.

Where to start?

Our experience of working with rural communities strongly confirms the notion that Failing to Plan is the same as Planning to Fail. The Information Sheet Getting Started with a Local Play Facility Project

Useful Websites

Play England (the main site) [1]

Play England Design For PLay: A Guide To Creating Successful Play Spaces website: [2]

Sensory Trust - Inclusive Play [3]

Play Equipment Suppliers

See link to Play Equipment Suppliers

Community Play and Recreation Guide

See link to

Play Safety

This is an area of major concern to those who hold the responsibility for providing and maintaining play areas. The following publications are available from RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents):

  • Risk Assessment of Children’s Playgrounds

An essential guide to assessing risk on outdoor playgrounds to meet the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

  • Routine Inspection of Children’s Playgrounds

A publication (November 2004) designed to assist in the regular inspection of playgrounds including what to look for and the documentation of inspections and site maintenance

  • Guide to the European Playground Standards, 4th Edition

An introduction to BS EN 1176 and BS EN 1177 containing an abbreviated version of the new standard where it may be checked on site

  • Maintaining Facilities in Commercial Premises

Guidance, checklists and forms for maintaining indoor and outdoor playgrounds, inflatables and coin-operated rides

  • The Children’s Playground

A guide to providing and managing a new playground for children or re-furbishing an old one. First published 2005

  • Safety Recommendations for Recreational Facilities for Young People

An informative guide to providing sports and recreational facilities for older children on the playground

  • Growing Places for Play

A basic guide to planting and use of living structures on playgrounds

  • BMX Tracks Safety and Planning Guide

The definitive guide for building and maintaining BMX tracks, written in conjunction with British Cycling (The Governing body for BMX).

  • Parks and Open Spaces

A definitive guide to safety and inspection regimes, for Parks and Open Spaces. A must for all involved with safety in parks and open spaces.

Post & Packaging £3.50 p&p for up to four books, £5.00 p&p for five or more books

More information from RoSPA website - click here [4]

Child Protection

In accordance with our concern for ensuring the safety of children NRCC has worked with SAFE (Safer Activities For Everyone) and produced the attached guidance which includes a model that can be used in developing a Child Protection Policy specifically for play areas. Child Protection guidelines

To find out more about SAFE and child protection issues you can visit their website at

You can also contact Katrina Burton,the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Programme Co-ordinator, Tel: 01603 228966

Annual Play Area Safety Inspections

Norfolk RCC are able to offer routine inspections of play areas but we do urge all play area managers to also ensure that an annual safety inspection of play equipment is undertaken by a professional safety assessor.

Play Safety Inspections are offered by:

Register of Play Inspectors International - Telephone: 024 7669 3787 List of Outdoor Annual Inspectors Website [5]

RoSPA Playground Management Ltd., The Old Barn, Wicklesham Lodge, Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 7PN Telephone: 01367 244600 Website [6]

Routine Inspections of Play Areas

As well as having an annual inspection by an independent body we recommend play area managers undertake regular routine inspections of the Play Area. Such checks should identify emerging issues with the play space such as corroded equipment or broken glass. Norfolk RCC are running a training session on how to do this please see -link to our current training program


At the NRCC we understand that developing projects, sourcing appropriate funding and completing applications can be a bit of a minefield.

General funding advice is available from the Development Officers for your area, this includes running searches on Grantfinder for your projects.

We provide advice and information on a variety of funding topics including:

  • Fundraising
  • Business Plans
  • Consultation Approaches for Communities
  • Completing an application

To get you started with your fundraising we have compiled a short list of Funding sources for community projects

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