The summer 2015 play programme was our most successful to date. Not only in terms of the play opportunities delivered to the children and young people across the Vale but also in the increased awareness of play and its importance to children and the wider community.
Our Buy a Day of Play scheme was introduced to develop stronger links with potential investors of children’s play. The scheme encourages large organisations and small businesses to support play within their own communities across the local authority area.
A short presentation was produced to raise the awareness of play and its importance and significance to the community. The presentation showcased a number of opportunities that were available to meet the needs of the individual communities, which included the potential to buy a day, buy a few days, or buy a week of play; or alternatively, buy a Family Funday.
Dinas Powys Community Council and United Welsh Housing were interested in purchasing a full week of the playscheme, on a joint basis. However, the playscheme venue offered for free by Dinas Powys Community Council was situated on the opposite side of the estate to that of the United Welsh Housing area. Taking this challenge into account we established a ‘walking bus’ to enable children living on and around the United Welsh Housing area to access the playscheme.
Play staff walked to an identified ‘play stop’ on the estate every morning, registered the children and spoke to their parents, then walked the children to the playscheme itself. This proved to be a successful solution and was carried out four times a day for the duration of the playscheme held in the area.
The organisations that bought into the summer programme were included on marketing materials. Press releases were organised, and invites sent to local councillors to visit the play sessions. This proved a valuable awareness-raising opportunity. Normally during the summer the local authority councillors are in recess and in the past this has meant the summer programme, developed by the Sports and Play Team, has almost gone un-noticed by council members.
The partnerships that evolved ensured that play remained on the agenda for a lot longer than usual. This has been evident in meetings held to date, for example with higher management asking the Sports and Play team how successful the summer programme was and how we as an authority can build on this positive relationship.
Each of the town/community councils in the Vale are different and each community is unique. Working alongside the town/community councils has meant we were able to provide play provision that was suited to the needs of the children living in the community.
The Buy a Day of Play was delivered by the Sports and Play team in partnership with Dinas Powys, Wick, Llantwit Major, Penarth, and Barry Town councils, Barry Communities First, United Welsh Housing, The Vale Food Bank and Morrisons Supermarket, Barry.