Schoolchildren enjoy playground after a 10-year wait for new equipment

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LUCKY Milton schoolchildren were thrilled to cut the ribbon on around £20,000 worth of new playground equipment, 10 years after it was first asked for.

Youngsters at Meon Infant School saw the official opening of a refurbished part of their play area that included a mini climbing wall and wooden bridge.

Headteacher Lynda Daish requested the equipment from Portsmouth City Council 10 years ago. She said: ‘I have been trying to get this since I started working at the school. Everyone has been so excited to try out the new equipment. Not only will it make breaktimes more fun for the children but it will promote a healthy lifestyle.

‘The equipment has been here since Easter but we had to make sure it was safe before it could be opened.’

Milton councillor and one of the school’s governors, Cllr Ben Dowling, lobbied for the equipment. He said: ‘I am really pleased to have helped a local school.

‘As a councillor it is important to me that the children have schools with the equipment they need.’

Year 2’s Jacob Barrett, seven, was looking forward to playing there. ‘I am really excited because I never thought the playground would be ready this early. I thought it would be later when we went to the junior school. But we can come back when we’re at junior school to say hello and play here,’ he said.

Martha Simpson, seven, agreed. She said: ‘I am excited because we’ve waited a long time. I’m most excited to go on the climbing wall.’

The decision was passed through the Milton Neighbourhood Forum before gaining council approval.

Chairwoman of the forum, Janice Burkinshaw, said: ‘This came up and we thought it was an excellent use of funds as Portsmouth schools have got very limited spaces to play. But if you can make the experience better for them it helps to overcome this problem.’