New and growing communities are placing health at the centre of their planning ‘toolkit’ to deliver better opportunities for people and more favourable economic outcomes. It is argued that by prioritising good physical, mental and social health, challenges will be easier to overcome resulting in a more productive and innovative population. We believe this can be achieved through the addition of community outdoor leisure features for people of all ages and abilities including sports and outdoor gym facilities. Key Cities, a network of 25 cities from cross England and Wales, outlined its vision in its report The Healthy City. It is calling for a reform of the planning system to achieve better outcomes for communities. It comes at a time when the Government is trialling a new design programme, empowering communities to have a bigger say on the development of new homes, buildings, amenities and infrastructure in their area.
The ‘health first’ approach is said to have the potential to overcome issues such as pollution, loneliness and physical inactivity. Creating attractive and accessible places for all is a core principle of the strategy, with good design supporting thriving places. Streets for a Healthy Life is a new guide to best practice in design, published by Homes England, and also calls for places to be created first and foremost for people. It says the presence of planting and street furniture has a large part to play in achieving a sense of place, while walking, cycling and public transport should be prioritised as the most important modes of travel. Outdoor facilities which encourage good mental and physical health also include outdoor gyms, particularly designs which include multi gyms and multi user equipment as they introduce a social element to exercise.
Design Code Pathfinder
The pathfinder forms part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and aims to deliver more beautiful and sustainable places by allowing communities to decide street layouts and types of building materials. An initial 25 councils are taking part in the scheme focusing on issues such as regenerating urban areas, reflecting local character in developments and revamping town centres. Again the work of the Pathfinder will feed into good practice guidance.
Vision to reality
At Sunshine Gym we offer decades of experience in transforming community recreation areas to support physical and mental wellbeing among communities. We work with schools, parish councils, local authorities, businesses and healthcare settings to bring free to access, easy to use outdoor gym equipment to as many people as possible. We believe in opening up activity to everybody, and partner with our clients to remove barriers to fitness such as cost and availability. Working with Sunshine Gym also brings further single source supplier benefits as we form part of the Broxap group of companies. Through our innovative and attractive cycle parking products we can help encourage physical activity with the provision of cycling infrastructure. Our playground division, Hand Made Places, designs, manufactures and installs inclusive play and learning areas in the community and in education settings. Our wide range of equipment, playground furniture and Trim Trails are designed so children of all abilities can play and socialise together. Meanwhile we can help to link up space for play and exercise with community life through seating and planters, protection for street trees and canopies to accommodate events and performances. Our picnic benches are a great addition to these spaces, encouraging people to come together, enjoy a drink or a meal and share experiences. We can also help communities to create spaces which reflect their town’s identity through customisation or the addition of crests, mottos or brand colours. And we manufacture football goals and rugby posts for recreation areas. These are tough enough to withstand regular use and exposure to the elements for a long lasting investment. From developers to decision makers, Sunshine Gym can help those involved in the creation and running of our neighbourhoods to embrace new thinking to create better places to live, work and visit.