Children and adults designing a healthier outdoor environment for future residents

Creative school children and local residents have been putting their ideas for a new outdoor space into reality which will help them lead a healthier lifestyle as part of the Move More Eat Well Partnership Plan.

The Healthy and Informed Connected Communities (HICC) Michaelston project is a collaboration between public bodies, private companies and third sector organisation alongside Cardiff residents and school children.

A new housing development on the site of the former Michaelston College in Ely, Cardiff, created the opportunity for the community to share their ideas for a new Well-Being Village which is a central part of the site. It’s main purpose will be for the benefit of the local community and will encourage play, healthy living, food growing and exercise spaces.

The main areas included in the design project were the Plaza, the Hillside Walk, the Community Garden, the Green Walk, the Wild Wood and the Drainage Pond.

Pupils from Pencaerau Primary School and Cardiff West Community High School as well as local residents from a local independent living scheme took part in the project which included site visits and sharing of ideas to make the area a healthy and welcoming place for all ages.

Consideration was given to natural play areas a pond, a community gardens which will be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Ideas were turned into models to give the designs a more life-like feel. Architects will look at the models before choosing the ones they feel can be incorporated into the site design, where building work is due to start next year.

This project was initiated following a successful pilot scheme with Ysgol Plasmawrand St Athan Primary School in 2019/2020.

“I liked seeing all the different places on the site and seeing what we can do to change things for the future,” said Samuel, Year 6, Pencaerau Primary School.

Jo Blackmore, Teaching Assistant, Pencaerau Primary School, said: “The children really enjoyed it, as did we as adults. It was great to be involved in a local community development activity and we are looking forward to seeing the children’s ideas added to the final designs. We hope the children and their families will get to use them in the future.”

The project was initiated by the Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team alongside Wates Residential, and partnerships developed with Cardiff Council, Ely and Caerau Integrated Children’s Centre, Grow Cardiff, Play Wales, Powell Dobson Architects, PRP Architects, Sport Cardiff, and The Tir Collective to deliver the project.

Sophie Paterson, Community Investment Advisor for Wates, said: “All the children and older people we worked with were fantastic. They were very focused on nature, wildlife and insects.

“It’s really important that we get the young people involved and having that interaction. Growing up they will see that their input into their community is important and hopefully it will influence their families and friends to be proud of the area. It’s also important to give young people the opportunity to meet with professional bodies, who might influence their future career choices.”

For more information on the Move More Eat Well initiative and for ideas on how to lead a healthier life visit