Finns donate two children’s playgrounds to Ukraine
Finnish companies and individuals are teaming up to build kids’ playgrounds in Lviv and Kyiv, Ukraine. The Hartwall family is the driving force behind this “Joy of Play” cooperation. The key partners in the project are kids’ wear brand Reima and play facilities producer Lappset Group. Additionally, donations from dozens of other corporations and private individuals through the Ukrainaid initiative are enabling the building of the two playgrounds.
Lviv: Joy of Play for primary school pupils
The first playground will be built for the pupils of Lviv Public School 62. By building a playground in the school's courtyard, this project aims at offering the pupils aged 6 to 10 years the joy of play, as well as a place to engage in fun activities such as climbing and hanging to compensate for sedentary time in the classroom. The construction work has started and the goal is to finalize the playground before summer.
How this school touches Finnish hearts
Lviv Public School 62 is located in the very city center on Teatralna, 15, in a historic building. The school has 602 pupils from grade 1 to 11. There are 198 primary school children in need of a contemporary equipped playground for quality outdoor time and PE lessons. Since the war started, the school has accommodated refugees from destroyed and occupied territories who have literally lived in the school’s gym hall. When the school year started last autumn, the pupils came back to study. During recurring air raids, they hide in a bomb shelter in the school's basement. But during breaks and quiet moments between lessons, they have no nice place to go to. Leopolis Hotel Lviv, owned by Hartwall family from Finland for 15 years, is situated right next to the school. The hotel has been financially supporting the school and initiated the Joy of Play project as a part of its commitment to support local community. This project hopes to offer a place where children can run, jump, swing and play freely with other children - feel a moment of joy and forget all the evil around. The hotel management will supervise the project on site and make sure it’s completed as planned.
Kyiv: the search for the location has started
The placement of the playground for Kyiv is still under investigation. The project team hopes to decide the location during spring, to get the construction work done right after the Lviv project.
Cooperation across company boundaries and country borders
On January 20th 2023, the Ukrainaid event in Helsinki with over 400 guests brought many donators together, kicking the project off in hopeful spirits.
“The war in Ukraine is showing increasingly brutal sides. Innocent people experience something you should never have to experience, even the children. We hope the Joy of Play project can serve as a model for companies on how to bring concrete aid to Ukraine. We urge businesses to cooperate with others and use their resources and unique know-how to help, each in their own way”, says Victor Hartwall.
Lappset designs and manufactures innovative, inspiring, and inclusive playground and exercise equipment and has operated in Ukraine since 2005. Both playgrounds are designed by Lappset and built using their equipment.
“Our heart goes out to our longstanding partners and customers – and their children - in this time of unimaginable crisis,” states the company VP, Design & Innovations Erkki Ikäheimo. “We want to show our support to Ukraine and are participating in this project by doing what we know best – designing and manufacturing the playgrounds in Lviv and Kiev. For us, the focus in this project are the local children. We want to give them the opportunity to create happy childhood memories. Our goal is to create for them inspiring play spaces that bring joy, color, and the feel of nature in the middle of a stony urban environment.”
Reima is the leading kids-only brand for functional kidswear, operational since 1944. Reima CEO Elina Björklund explains why this project immediately inspired Reima to participate:
“The outbreak of war last year has shocked all of Europe. At Reima, we’ve been finding ways to donate to the children of Ukraine while also supporting our local partners there. We were delighted to get this opportunity to further contribute in a way that’s very natural for us. After all, Reima’s reason for existence is the joy of movement: to enable kids everywhere to play and move freely in any weather, thus helping them to a healthy, active life. By joining the Joy of Play project, we can help create moments of pure joy for the children who currently need it the most.”
For more information and photos of the project, please contact: In Finland: Ursula Blässar and Pia Hartwall email@example.com In Ukraine: Katya Matiushchenko firstname.lastname@example.org
- - -
About The Joy of Play project
The Joy of Play -project is carried out by the Hartwall family and their team, who have been operating in Ukraine for a long time. The country, and its people, are very close to the family. Since the war broke out, they have taken several measures to help the country, collecting materials for humanitarian aid. Trucks packed with supplies have reached both the military and civilians. The family’s companies have talented staff and a large network of contacts in Ukraine, who ensure that the help goes where it is most needed. The local coordinating hub for the project is the Leopolis hotel in Lviv.
Reima is a globally leading kids' activewear brand. Founded in Finland in 1944, Reima employs around 400 people. The company’s turnover was €154 million in 2022. Reima’s products and solutions are available in over 50 countries and 85% of net sales come from international markets. Reima’s mission is to gear up the next generation of happy, active kids, preparing them for the world to come. Our design principles are innovation, functionality, safety, and fresh Finnish design. The clothing is approved by the world’s toughest testers: children. Read more at www.reima.com
Lappset in short
Lappset Group Oy has been dedicated to promoting play and movement for over 50 years. Lappset designs and manufactures innovative, inspiring, and inclusive playground and exercise equipment, theme parks, and park and street furniture. The family business from Rovaniemi employs 400 experts in different fields in eight different countries. It has production in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands, and its distribution network extends to more than 60 countries. The turnover of the Lappset Group in 2021 was approximately EUR 62 million, and the operating profit was EUR 2.6 million. Read more at www.lappset.com