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Volunteers jump to it as park playground reopens

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SAUMAREZ PARK playground was given a spruce up during the lockdown. But committee members had to get everything in order hurriedly when they discovered they would be able to reopen last Saturday.

Friends of Saumarez Park committee members Zef Eisenberg, left, and Marco Tersigni and their colleagues had to speed up repairs on the Saumarez Park playground equipment as the permission to reopen took them by surprise. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28325737)

The popular play area, which is themed around a large pirate ship climbing frame, was shut during lockdown. Indoor play areas are still closed and are not set to reopen until phase five of the easing of restrictions.

Friends of Saumarez Park Playground chairman Zef Eisenberg said the guidance had originally been for outdoor children’s play areas also to stay closed until a later phase.

‘We’ve used the opportunity to go through and repair and replace any parts that were worn,’ he said.

Wood preservation oil has been applied to many areas and parts of the climbing frame netting have also been replaced.

‘The manufacturers were quite surprised by the use it has had, which shows how popular a design it is,’ Mr Eisenberg said.

The team also took the chance to use a donation to buy a smaller climbing frame, which is being installed by the fishing boat.

So while the team was working hard on this, it was announced two weeks ago that Guernsey was moving into phase four last weekend.

Mr Eisenberg said when they checked the guidance, it said initially that all children’s playgrounds would stay shut.

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It was only when Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Deputy Gavin St Pier commented on the group’s Facebook page that it could reopen did the committee realise it would be allowed. While pleased, it led to a very busy week last week.

‘It was great news, but we had not planned for that, so we were working frantically to get it ready,’ Mr Eisenberg said.

He particularly paid tribute to the hard work of Marco Tersigni, who has been one of the driving forces behind the playground over the years.

Fortunately, they were ready by Saturday morning, when families turned up to play there.

Mr Eisenberg said they appreciated that children were not always as good at social distancing and hygiene as adults. He said that meant it was important for parents to take measures, such as children putting on hand sanitiser before using equipment or washing hands afterwards.

‘People can take a pragmatic view,’ Mr Eisenberg said.

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