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19.04.2012 - Ausgabe: 2/2012

Safer Playgrounds with Coca Cola

Playground@Landscape interviewed Uwe Kleinert, Chief of Corporate Responsibility for Coca-Cola Germany, Berlin and Ralf Dieckmann, products press officer for TÜV Rheinland, on the Fanta Playground Initiative.


As shown by the current playground tests carried out by TÜV Rheinland in 2011/12, there are, unfortunately, many playgrounds in Germany that fall short in terms of safety and creative play value. It is as a result of this that Fanta, together with the German Children’s Fund and TÜV Rheinland, has created the Fanta Playground Initiative, which is designed for the long-term benefit of German playgrounds. Sonya Kraus’s role as celebrity ambassador will help attract attention to the initiative and she will also help with the restoration and repair work carried out at up to 20 playgrounds.

The programme is divided into three phases: The first phase will see financial support being awarded to up to 20 public playgrounds. The Fanta Playground Initiative acts as a source of inspiration and supports the restoration of up to 20 playgrounds in desperate need of intervention across Germany. To this end, the initiative is requesting immediate applications for financial help for the purposes of restoration from all parties responsible for playgrounds in need across the country. In the second phase we will build a model playground. With the construction of a 75,000 EUR model playground, independent of the bottle code donations, the Fanta Playground Initiative is leading the way with a wonderful example. Together with experts from the German Children’s Fund they have created a model playground with excellent creative value that is developed, however, using cost-effective play modules. The model playground demonstrates to playground administrators how a creative and safe playground can look and how it can be realised without the need for full coffers. It will be officially unveiled on 28 May 2012 on World Play Day. Phase 3: Corporate Volunteering. In addition, Coca-Cola Germany is supporting the initiative with employees volunteering to help with the restoration of playgrounds.

Playground@Landscape: More space for playing, exercise and fun – Or: Why children have to play. What does Coca Cola think about this? And why this initiative?
Uwe Kleinert: As a company, at Coca Cola Germany, we take the responsibility to becoming socially involved very seriously and also, with the recognition of our brands, drawing attention to important societal topics. With the Fanta Playground Initiative, we would like to contribute towards heightening the awareness for the necessity for creative, safe play for children’s development and initiating improvements. With the Fanta Playground Initiative, Fanta is taking on social responsibility. The Fanta Playground Initiative at Coca Cola Germany is embedded in the sustainability strategy “Live in the Future”, which promotes an active, healthy lifestyle. With the Fanta Playground Initiative we refer to parents in order to draw attention to the topic of free play. This is why it is important for us that the Fanta brand is clearly present on the restored playgrounds and on the model playground in Bochum.

Playground@Landscape: What are the test criteria of the Playground Test in 2011/2012 by TÜV Rheinland on behalf of the Fanta Playground Initiative and which towns participated?
Ralf Diekmann, Press Officer Products, TÜV Rheinland: Overall, in the current test, 50 playgrounds, intended for children between six and twelve years old, in ten German cities were examined. Five playgrounds in the cities of Aachen, Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart were tested. The test criteria in the playground test 2011/ 2012 were: The safety aspect in accordance with DIN 7926 as well as EN 1176-1 and the aspect of creative play value. With the playground test in 2011/2012, for the first time, the creative play value in accordance with the classification as per the criteria of the German Children’s Charity was raised: Varied design, spatial planning, consideration of landscape-typical design, character of experience/self-perception, natural elements of play and experience, retreats, diversity of usage.

Playground@Landscape: What are the results – from the most frequent safety defects to the aspect of creative play value?
Ralf Diekmann: 39 playgrounds (78 percent) were tested to have defects. 27 playgrounds (54 percent) with defects with an acute need for action. The most common safety defects are: Inadequate fall protection (obstacles in the fall area, the exceeding of the drop height, as well as a fall area which is too small): With 23 playgrounds (46 percent), a total of 42 affected items of playground equipment. Fingers getting caught: With 14 playgrounds (28 percent), a total of 18 affected items of playground equipment. Head getting caught: With eleven playgrounds (22 percent), a total of 13 affected items of playground equipment. Neck getting caught: With nine playgrounds (18 percent), a total of11 affected items of playground equipment.
Under the aspect of creative play value (German school grades 1-6), the average grade was 3.4.

Playground@Landscape: Why do children have to play?
Uwe Kleinert: Playing isn’t just fun, but it is of massive importance for the cognitive, social and motor development of the child. Free, creative play integrally promotes the child’s personal development. Therefore, children should and must play! And children have a right to play – it states so in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child! However, in the urban environment, there is frequently the lack of scope for being curious about being able to go on a journey of discovery and leaving suitable traces behind. Therefore, playgrounds in cities are an indispensible part of children’s lives. But unfortunately these are often no longer in a good condition – and this is what the initiative wants to improve, working together with many renowned experts. The initiative would like – instead of prefabricated play situations – to create play areas which allow individual design and stimulate the child’s imagination and support creative, independent playing.

The interview was led by Thomas R. Müller, Playground@Landscape

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