State of Play in Wales

The Play 2000 Grant Scheme provided £1m in 2000-2001 through a Special Grant Report to improve open access play facilities for children in deprived communities in Wales and was funded from end year flexibility agreed by the Finance Secretary.

In order to achieve sustainability of impact, it was agreed that a small sum of grant money be used to undertake a wider review of children’s play that would inform future discussion in the Welsh Government.

Play Wales has subsequently undertaken national reviews to ascertain the ‘State of Play’ in Wales. The reviews build on the first report commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2000. The reviews are strategic documents to be used by Play Wales, Big Lottery Fund, Welsh Government and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

The purpose of the reviews is to provide information as to which purpose the play grant (later play theme [Cymorth] monies and more recently, Families First funding) have been used, the range of projects which benefited and issues which need to be addressed.

 

State of Play 1 (2000)

In order to achieve sustainability of impact, it was agreed that a small sum of the Play 2000 grant money be used to undertake a wider review of children’s play that would inform future discussion in the Welsh Government.

The study was comissioned by the National Assembly for Wales. The Play Study Co-ordinator was Marianne Mannello, seconded from Interlink, the Rhondda Cynon Taf Association of Voluntary Organisations. Representatives of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and Play Wales met regularly with officials to advise on the project. June Statham of Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London edited the report.

Children and Youth Partnerships were asked to report how the Play 2000 grant was used or planned to be used. The Study included the views of key providers and organisations concerned with play provision in Wales. These were primarily local authorities, through their leisure and amenities services and play forums that operate as umbrella bodies representing and promoting play interests. Responses were received from all Partnerships on how the grant allocation had been spent.

The State of Play 2000 reports on a study of open access play provision in Wales and to what purposes the Play Grant 2000 had been used.

Download key recommendations as taken from the National Assembly for Wales report

 

State of Play 2 (2003)

This report was originally designed as an ‘in-house’ exercise to inform Play Wales regarding issues needing to be addressed in terms of the development of staffed open-access play opportunities across local authorities in Wales.

At the time of completion, Play Wales had recently increased its capacity of Development Officers and felt that this study would identify areas of work for staff. At this time, Play Wales had limited contact with local authorities, particularly in South and Mid Wales.

The report provided a direction for our Development Officers in terms of prioritising geographical areas and engagement with appropriate partnerships; it also identified a wide range of issues regarding perception of children’s play and staffed play provision, which informed the planning of our future seminars, workshops and events. It also informed our engagement with Welsh Government officials.

The report identified a huge growth in Play Development Staff and we were able to shape the facilitation of a Play Officers (Wales) Support Network accordingly. Play Wales is now engaged with most of the local authority Framework Partnerships. We support the development of strategic working groups and networks within local authorities and support the development and review of local play strategies.

Play Wales is currently reviewing the work of Development Officers. Our capacity still limits the support we are able to provide to some local authorities and we have identified this as a priority for growth in the future.

Download key findings and recommendations


State of Play 3 (2006)

Play Wales undertook a review of the Welsh Assembly Play Grant (Cymorth) to inform us to which purposes the monies have been employed and the range of projects that benefited.

The review provided an up to date perspective of current provision and capacity, and identified areas in need of infrastructure capacity development. The review was intended to enable Play Wales to better support organisations to meet the challenges of the national Play Policy and also laid the groundwork for advising the strategic aspect of the Big Lottery Fund Child’s Play programme.

Play Wales undertook this review prior to the roll out of the programme to help inform local partnerships of local authorities and voluntary sector play associations of developments across Wales, to best enable them to respond to this new funding stream. The review included an initial scoping exercise aimed at identifying the current situation in Wales with regard to voluntary sector play associations.

Download key findings and recommendations

 

Additional Funding for Disabled Children

Play Wales produced an appendix to the State of Play 2006.

In 2006 an additional £1m was made available to Framework Partnerships to provide facilities for disabled children. Play Wales conducted an informal exercise to determine the impact of that funding.

The purpose of this appendix was to provide information as to how the additional funding has been employed and highlight issues that need to be addressed.

Play Wales undertook this exercise after the additional funding had been distributed.

Download State of Play 2006 Appendix 

 

State of Play 4 (2009)

Play Wales undertook a national survey of Framework Partnerships to ascertain the ’State of Play’ in Wales 2009.

This document represents a ‘decade-on review’ to inform Play Wales of processes and issues effecting planning for play provision locally, the purposes to which monies have been employed, and the range of projects, which benefited.

The report was used to inform Play Wales’ future work to support the development of play provision across Wales, as well as the advice and support we provide to ensure a strategic approach.

The review provided an up to date perspective of current provision and capacity. The review was intended to enable Play Wales to better support organisations to meet the challenges of the national Play Policy and also lay the groundwork for advising the local implementation of other national initiatives, particularly the Children and Families (Wales) Measure.

Download conclusion and priorities for Play Wales

 

State of Play 5 (2011-2012)

Play Wales has undertaken a national review of Local Authorities to ascertain the ’State of Play’ in Wales 2011. This is the fifth such review and builds on the first report commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2000, subsequently updated by Play Wales in 2003, 2006 and 2009.

This review was undertaken between September 2011 and February 2012 to inform Play Wales of processes and issues affecting planning for play provision locally.

The review will inform Play Wales’ future work to support the development of play provision across Wales, as well as the advice and support we provide to ensure a strategic approach.

The review provides an up to date perspective of current provision and capacity. The review will enable Play Wales to better support organisations to meet the challenges of the national Play Strategy and will also lay the groundwork for advising the local implementation of other national initiatives, particularly the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010.

This is the first State of Play Review that sought information regarding community space and planning. This section provides limited information regarding the use of school grounds for playing during out of learning hours, how play features in open space assessments and transport impact assessments.

Download conclusion and priorities for Play Wales
 

The full State of Play reports are available upon request - please email the Communications team for electronic copies.