PLAY areas across the borough have been given a major boost thanks to an £800,000 improvement scheme.

As a result of the investment programme, 30 of the 60 play areas around Bury will be fully or partially refurbished, worn out equipment will be replaced, and safety surfacing will be renewed.

Work has already been completed or is underway in 10 locations, with a further six due for improvement during the spring, and the remaining 14 scheduled to be upgraded during the summer or autumn of this year.

The scheme, which is being staggered across the year because of the significant amount of work taking place, has been jointly funded by Bury Council, Six Town Housing and through Section 106 Agreements in connection with housing developments.

Council chiefs have praised the scheme as "vital" to giving the borough's youngsters a happy and healthy start to life.

Cllr Tony Isherwood, cabinet member for environment, said: “Providing good quality, locally accessible play areas is so important for our local children and young people. Decent facilities encourage play and social interaction, support health and wellbeing and help give our youngsters a good start in life.

“This is why this type of investment is vital and why play provision continues to be high on the agenda.”

Play areas currently being improved include: Duke Street, Ainsworth; Parkside Walk, Bury; Summerseat Lane; Parr Lane, Unsworth; Whalley Road and Nuttall Park, Ramsbottom; Kershaw Avenue, Prestwich; Victoria Park, Whitefield; Hollinhurst Park, Radcliffe; and Gardener Mount, Prestwich.

Several smaller Six Town Housing play areas are also being improved.

Play areas programmed for improvement during the spring are: Purbeck Drive, Bury; Brandlesholme Road; Wellington Barracks; Hoyle Park, Bury; Sycamore Avenue, Tottington; and Bradley Fold.