Playground Design Competition 2023 Timeline

Thursday 27th April 2023 

Wicksteed Park has launched a children’s competition to design a new piece of equipment for their playground. 

Young people aged 11 or under were invited to create their own playground equipment. The winning design will be manufactured by Wicksteed Leisure Ltd and installed in the playground for everyone to enjoy. 

Designs can be submitted in either a 2D format or an image of a 3D model. 

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from Wicksteed Leisure, Wicksteed Park, and Northamptonshire Council. 

Tuesday 27th June 2023 

The deadline for entries to be submitted has closed.  

Summer 2023 

Four entries have been shortlisted as finalists for the Playground Innovation Awards. The shortlisted finalists are Mia Opoku Agyeman, Veritie Marks, Ava Mae Cox, and Cleo Berry and Amani Chirwa, who did a joint entry.  

The winner of Wicksteed Park’s ‘Playground Design Competition’ will be announced at Midday on Saturday, 29th July at a special ceremony attended by the Mayor of Kettering.  

The mayor will be joined by Councillor Helen Howell, Chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust Oliver Wicksteed DL, former Trustee Linden Groves and Managing Director of Wicksteed Leisure Katherine Perkins at the event which will take place in the Terrace Suite.  

All four finalists will receive awards at the event and a free day out at the park, while the winner will also get to see their design turned into reality ahead of an official unveiling. 

Saturday 29th July 2023 

‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ inspired climbing frame was voted overall winner in competition for children to design new playground equipment at Wicksteed Park.  

10-year-old Mia Opoku Agyeman was awarded first place by a panel of judges in the Playground Innovation awards for her fairytale inspired climbing frame. The judges were particularly impressed by her self-taught use of 3D-modelling software. 

“I got my design idea from the story of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’,” said Mia as part of her presentation. 

“I would love to play on a climbing frame that is made to look like a beanstalk with a sky-like top. I also would like to have an exciting slide attached to it from which the children can slide down swiftly after the hard work of climbing up.  

“I wish there would be lovely colourful paintings of children of different colours and leaves of different colours and shapes, maybe add some various surprises on the climbing frame.  

“Last but most importantly, there will be a big soft landing, like from the bouncy castle that is bouncy on the ground in case of any falling,” she added.  

Mia will get the opportunity to visit the factory during the manufacturing process and work alongside Wicksteed Leisure to see her design come to life. Her design will later be installed in Wicksteed Park’s traditional, free playground for all to enjoy.  

December 2023

The initial proposed design for the Jack and the Beanstalk inspired climbing frame has been released:

The total height of the unit will be 4 metres.

There will be a wind up panel at the top of the slide that will emit a noise that will be heard as you shoot down the slide.

There will be coloured Perspex panels which allow light into the centre of the unit.

Leaf climbing pods allow the user to climb the unit, as in Jack and the Beanstalk.

Designs are subject to change due to compliance and risk assessment procedures.

Tuesday 20th February 2024

Mia and her family paid a visit to the Wicksteed Leisure Factory in Kettering to see her design come to life for the first time!

Mia and her siblings were able to explore the climbing frame before it was painted and the final touches added.

Afterwards, they were given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of where Mia’s design had been built and developed, as well as learned about how each process works.

March 2024

Wicksteed Leisure began assembling the climbing frame in the playground at Wicksteed Park for the big reveal at the @Play project celebration on the 24th of March.


Sunday 24th March 2024

Mia’s Jack and the Beanstalk inspire climbing frame was played on for the first time at the big reveal event and has proved to already be popular with local children.

Lynne Egginton, National Sales Manager for Wicksteed Leisure Ltd, said: “We are really pleased with how it has turned out and we hope it meets Mia’s expectations. It has been a joy to collaborate with such a talented young lady and the Wicksteed Park team to bring this concept through to reality.”

The launch event also marked the completion of the park’s @play heritage project, which was supported by a grant of £2,089,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Liz Shaw, Head of Engagement, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “It’s fantastic to hear how the team at Wicksteed Park are working with young people on the @play project.

“Engaging young people is vital in securing the future of our heritage, and it’s thanks to National Lottery players that we’re able to support important projects such as this one, ensuring that heritage projects represent and reflect local voices from the community, and that their ideas are heard across the heritage landscape.”

The @play project has led to the creation of, with the help of Wicksteed Leisure, a free heritage playground featuring ten pieces of historic play equipment, including the recovery and refurbishment of what is believed to be the world’s oldest playground swing, made by Charles a century ago.

This amazing project made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players.

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