Development through play is nothing new, but in Cavan – home to Ireland’s first multi-generational playground – the focus is on re-development through play. With the increase in life expectancy, Cavan County Council decided it was time to do something to enrich the lives of elderly and provide further play and recreational opportunities for adults in the area.
Con Smith Park Outdoor Gym
Part of €190,000 Project
Conor Craven, Administrative Officer, Cavan County Council says: “Other ageing societies across Asia created outdoor gyms which were incredibly popular and had research backing the benefits, so we decided to create Con Smith Park Outdoor gym to provide affordable play opportunities for everyone from the cradle to the grave.”
As Ireland’s first multi-generational playground, the Con Smith Park facility required months of research and generous financial support. Thanks to an award of €69,000 from the Border Midlands Region operational programme through ERDF funding, the park became a reality. Constructing the outdoor gym and installing the equipment, which was set-up on Cathedral Road in 2009, cost a total of €138,000 – the other 50% of the cost was supported by Cavan County Council.
The award-winning multi-generational park features equipment that promotes low-impact exercise, such as static bikes, body flexors and elliptical machines that help promote flexibility and balance.
The outdoor gym encourages physical exercise and helps improve posture and motor neurone skills, as well as conditions like arthritis.
“With over 1,000 people enjoying the playground any given weekend, it’s a hugely successful and beneficial project that attracts locals and those visiting the area,” says Tommy Ryan, Chief Executive, Cavan County Council.
“It was designed with the older people in mind, but it’s used by people of all ages and its located just beside the children’s playground, so the whole family can enjoy a day of exercise and play together,” says Mr. Craven