Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Newly developed York Street play space and garden to benefit local community

10 December 2015

Today, a new community play amenity and garden in York Street Flat Complex in Dublin was opened. This was the culmination of a year-long community partnership project between local residents of York Street, RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Dublin City Council (DCC), the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The amenity was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI to local children from York Street and from St Enda's National School, Whitefriar Street.

Maria Kelly (REACH RCSI Programme; Gerry Doyle, York Street resident; Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Professor Hannah McGee are pictured with local kids and residents of York Street
This innovative play space will offer children and young people of the local community in the catchment area of the College, a new form of free play which has an emphasis on imagination and social interaction. It's carefully planned installations including hills and mounds, a sandpit, slide, a giant blackboard, oversized picnic table, log benches, mud kitchen and a tree house. The amenity space is splashed with vibrant colour due to a new garden, planted by local resident, Gerard Doyle. 

The playground is open!
Speaking at the opening of the play area, Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI said, "It is fantastic to see the finished play area and community garden which, I'm sure will bring a lot of happiness and pride to the local community, both young and old. The REACH programme at RCSI is committed to developing the education and health of our community and this amenity will no doubt contribute greatly to lifelong participation in recreational activities of our local young people."

Charlie Roe plays hopscotch with the Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh praised the new play area and said, "I congratulate all involved in designing and facilitating this new play amenity in York Street Complex. This is the second of six playground projects whereby Dublin City Council creates and increases play opportunities within an imaginative redesigned space. I hope that all the local children get lots of opportunities to get out and play here and have lots of fun."

High 5 from the Dean! Thomas Moran having fun with Prof Hannah McGee and Maria Kelly
Dublin City has nearly 70,000 children under 12 years of age living in the city (and 181,638 under 18) which presents a very real issue of access to quality playgrounds and open spaces around the city. York Street Play area redevelopment is part of the ‘Outside the Box' project. This initiative is a new way of thinking about and facilitating play for children and young people living in Dublin City Council housing and flat complexes. 

Pictured (l-r) is Rocco Roche (8), Wai Cruen So (7) and Matheo Narona (7) who where some of the first to play the new community play space and garden 
York Street playground redevelopment arose through a consultative process with staff from Dublin City Council, children and young people from the local community and the York Street Play Committee. The project is also aligned with the aims of the REACH RCSI programme which was established in 2007. The REACH RCSI Programme is a unique Community Outreach and Access programme at RCSI, promoting Recreation Education And Community Health. The initiative is aimed at encouraging and facilitating third level participation and enhancing life chances for those traditionally underrepresented at third level, particularly those from Dublin's South Inner City.
The York Street Play Committee is made up of local residents Gerard Doyle, Janice Kiernan and Therese Roe, as well as Maria Kelly (REACH RCSI Programme), Debbie Clarke (DCC Play Development Officer) and Gerard Geoghegan, (DCC Housing Department)
RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook' and #251 - 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.