Dott unveils plans to use children to power National Grid

Designs of the Time Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is unveiling one of its showcase projects, which Dott programme director Andrea Siodmok says will ‘take the kinetic energy of children to power the National Grid’.

The project, set to take place next year, will see the design and construction of a new playground at a site in Redruth, Cornwall, which will be codesigned with children and the local community.

The playground apparatus will be designed so that it can create electricity, says Siodmok, who adds, ‘The playground might power its own lights, for example.’

The site is currently a derelict playing field at former school Gweal an Top. It has been earmarked to become an adventure playground as part of Cornwall’s Play Pathfinder.

The project is being led by Dott senior producer Ré Dubhthaigh, founder of designled management consultancy Radar Station. Dubhthaigh is currently seeking designers from Dott’s framework of locally based groups to work on the project, and says he may also involve interns from Dott partner University College Falmouth.

Siodmok says the project aims to feed into the Government’s National Play Strategy, launched by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in December 2008 to develop play facilities for children across the country. It also fits the Energy Cashback scheme, launched earlier this year, which allows generators of low-cost electricity to sell it to the National Grid.

She says, ‘We want to make sure that the Dott showcase projects are ones that we could scale nationally.’

The project is set to launch in the spring. Dubhthaigh says, ‘The intention is that this project will be relatively fastpaced. With any co-creation programme you don’t really know what the results will be until they are completed.’

He adds, ‘We want the project to be fun, adventurous and magical, and have a lasting effect.’

Dott is working on another showcase project, looking at a new model of low-carbon transport, which is set to launch next year.


  • Two showcase projects, one looking at children’s play and one looking at transport, to launch next year
  • The Eco Design Challenge has recently launched, alongside two other skills projects
  • The Dott Shots website, which allows the public to upload photographs of Dott projects, went live in September
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