Two year old Seraphina Hancock thoroughly enjoyed test driving East Devon District Council’s new Expression Swing, which her father Andrew Hancock (seated opposite) was responsible for sourcing and installing at Willow Walk play area in Honiton

It’s a first for East Devon District Council with fun and innovative swing that promotes parent and child interaction

The huge smile on two year old Seraphina Hancock’s face says it all, as she and her dad, Andrew Hancock, sit opposite each other on an Expression Swing – an innovatively designed face-to-face swing -which East Devon District Council has had imported specially from the US and recently installed at Willow Walk play area in Honiton.

“She absolutely loves this swing,” said Andrew, who as Service Lead for East Devon District Council’s Streetscene Service, is responsible for providing and maintaining East Devon’s 70 play areas and equipment. “It’s brilliantly designed as it allows you to swing with your child, while looking at them, which makes it fun for both of you. But most importantly, it means you can smile at your child, chat with them and swing all at the same time. It’s also jolly good exercise for the parent!”

“The swing looks great and all the children we have seen using it really enjoy the interaction it allows with their parent. I first saw the Expression Swing on the internet, and knew we had to get one – I just thought it would be so much fun for parents to be able to take part in their kids’ playtime.

“As far as we are aware, East Devon is the first council to use this type of swing in the UK and I would like to thank one of our engineers, Dave Cook, for making the arrangements to import the five swings that we have now purchased. The swings cost around £1,000 each, including all the fixings and delivery charges, which I believe represents excellent value and makes this type of play equipment a worthwhile investment for us.”

The interaction that Andrew is referring to is play science and involves the principle of attunement – the bonding that occurs between an adult and a child when they engage in play, while making eye contact. The Expression Swing features a bucket seat for children under five and a comfortable adult swing seat, which allows a parent and child or a grandparent and grandchild to make eye contact while playing. Play is an essential part of every child’s life and is vital for social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

East Devon District Council’s Portfolio holder for the Environment, Councillor Iain Chubb, said:

The Expression Swing is a marvellous idea and is an example of how innovative and creative our Streetscene service is in sourcing outstanding play equipment for East Devon’s play areas. The swing is worth every penny and will come out of our regular play budget.

“We’ve installed one in Honiton and will be putting one in the Land of Canaan play area in Ottery St Mary, in the New Year. Plus we’ve identified Foxhill play area in Axminster as another potential site. But we want to hear from East Devon’s local community with their suggestions for where we could put the two remaining swings, which we’ve purchased.

Where you would like to see an Expression Swing?

East Devon District Council would like to receive suggestions for suitable locations for its two remaining Expression Swings. If you are a local East Devon resident, please email: dcook@eastdevon.gov.uk , putting ‘Expression Swing’ in the subject line, or telephone Dave Cook on: 01395 516551with your ideas for sites. Alternatively, tweet your suggestions to: @eastdevon or @streetsceneops or post them on www.facebook.com/eastdevon - in both cases use the hashtag #eddcexpressionswing