West Midlands Police transformed a Coventry village square into a floor-paint play area for children as part of our pledge to improve the community and help families.
The project has seen Hillfields Square given a fun makeover with the addition of a painted bike and scooter track, hop scotch, board games and mazes.
Funding is from a national Safer Streets initiative which provides money for community and crime prevention schemes.
Officers from the St Michaels Neighbourhood Police Team 3 prepared a detailed bid for cash to fund improvements − and it saw them land a cheque from the government of more than half a million pounds.
PCSO Lauren Galloway has driven the project forward alongside Coventry City Council and Citizen Housing. She said: “Around 1,000 local residents overlook Hillfields Square and many of them are young families living in the five high-rise tower blocks.
“The nearest park is about half a mile away so we consulted with local people about ways we could help and there was overwhelming support for this painted play area.
“There is a road track where youngsters can ride their bikes and scooters and learn road safety, plus snakes and ladders and other games. Some of the wording is in six different languages to reflect the area’s diversity.
“It’s ready for use now but we’ll officially open on 9 January when we’ll also hold a bike and scooter marking session to help youngsters protect their new Christmas gifts.”
More of the Safer Streets money will be spent in Hillfields on initiatives aimed at reducing crime, including more CCTV cameras, improved lighting and supplying residents with home security packs.
West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem, said: “Earlier this we were successful in a bid to secure £549,040 in funding to improve community safety in the Hillfields area of Coventry.
“I am pleased to see that this funding is being used to provide a place for young people to come together in a safe environment.
“Young people who live in this area have limited options when it comes to getting involved in positive activity and I am pleased to see this funding is providing somewhere safe for children to play. Ensuring young people have positive activities to get involved is key to preventing crime.”
And Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, and ward councillor in Hillfields, added: “This is the first stage in a series of improvements to the area. We want the square to be a place the community can enjoy.
“By giving it a makeover we hope children and young people who helped suggest ideas for the artwork will be encouraged to play and meet outside.
“I’m really looking forward to other schemes being rolled out in the coming months that benefit residents and have a positive impact on the quality of life in the area.”