A PIONEERING project to make Ryedale’s play areas smoke-free has been launched.

The scheme is part of Ryedale District Council’s(RDC) campaign to inspire a smoke-free generation, with support from North Yorkshire County Council’s Smokefree Places Fund.

Each play area will be signposted as “smoke free”, designed to make people think twice about smoking cigarettes close to where children are playing.

Cllr Michael Cleary, RDC’s champion for sport, said: “Ryedale will be one of the first regions in North Yorkshire to introduce smoke-free play areas, but they’re potentially a lifeline for our young people.

“Sadly, Ryedale has the third-highest number of deaths from smoking in North Yorkshire, and our children are particularly at risk.

“Play areas are supposed to be fun and healthy places for our children, spaces where they can enjoy being active, outdoors in the fresh air.

“As local communities, we have to pull together to protect these precious ‘clean air’ places for our children, and to reduce the likelihood that young people will start smoking in the first place. This campaign is the first step towards achieving this.”

As part of the project artist Rosie Goodwin will be hosting art workshops at Manor Drive play area, Pickering, on August 16; Rainbow Lane, Malton, on August 17, Old Road, Kirkbymoorside, on August 22 and Swinton play area, on August 28, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. For details, go to ryedale.gov.uk/your-council/news/2460-smoke-free-play-areas