New arts hub dedicated to woman who gave Sheffield’s children the space to play

Dozens of young people turned out for the unveiling of the Barbara Morris Art Space at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground

A new family arts zone in Sheffield has been dedicated to the memory of a ‘tireless campaigner’ who fought to improve play facilities for children in the city.

The Barbara Morris Art Space was unveiled at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, which she helped save from closure and revive as a buzzing attraction.

Barbara Morris with a coach from Sheffield Wednesday

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It was described as a ‘living legacy’ for a woman who was much loved by youngsters there and whose drive and commitment improved life for families around Sheffield.

Barbara was a keen volunteer at the adventure playground, on the corner of Melrose Road and Burngreave Street.

The 58-year-old mother-of-two was also vice-chairman of the Friends of Richmond Park and an active member of various other groups including Sheffield Play Association and Sheffield Green Spaces Forum.

Yanina Koszalinski, chairwoman of Pitsmoor Adventure Playground;Paul Campbell, chairman of Sheffield Green Spaces Forum;CouncillorTalib Hussain; and Lord Mayor Magid Magid with a playground user at the unveiling

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She was a keen artist and craftswoman too, and left her huge array of creative tools and materials to the playground.

Barbara sadly died in February, having suffered from a rare condition which caused her body to retain water and swell suddenly to up to three times her normal weight.

Her widower Phil Morris said: “It’s nice for her to be recognised in this way by the children at the adventure playground whom she helped.

Barbara's son Jonathan with Yanina Koszalinski, chairwoman of Pitsmoor Adventure Playground

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“It was very important to her that children had somewhere safe to play and she would be over the moon that this art space has been opened in her memory.”

Materials will be available in the art space, which was designed by children who knew Barbara, to use whenever the playground is open.

The area, which was unveiled on Saturday, will also host regular family crafting sessions.

The playground was facing closure four years ago but is now thriving, thanks to supporters like Barbara, and is used by up to 130 youngsters a day.

The playground’s manager, Patrick Meleady, said: “We wanted to commemorate Barbara’s contribution and have a living legacy.

“When the playground was up for closure, she rolled up her sleeves to help safeguard it for children.

“She was a tireless campaigner for parks and play areas, who wanted to make a difference for families, which she certainly did.

“Our children really loved her and we’re proud to have this wonderful resource dedicated to her memory.”

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