During 2017, families living on a housing estate in Pembrokeshire were accessing regular open access play provision. When funding for the play sessions came to an end, parents were asked if they would consider receiving training and forming a parent play team, to oversee future play provision. Several of the parents were interested and wanted sufficient play opportunities for children living on their estate.
The Play Sufficiency Officer and the local authority’s Housing Officer developed a partnership to offer play training for parents. The parents undertook the Agored Open College Network (OCN) Level 1 in Playwork. Also, among other qualifications, the parents gained Tier 1 Safeguarding certificates through the Council’s Learning and Development team. For some of the parents, this was the first time in many years that they had been in a classroom style learning environment.
Funding secured Public Liability Insurance, staff uniform, play equipment, a first aid kit, a fire pit, and charges for the hiring of the local community centre for the play sessions. The Play Team offered six play sessions so the parents could put their recently acquired theory into practice and to help develop and increase their confidence. The Play Team took a variety of play equipment and oversaw the sessions, offering advice and guidance when necessary.
The project enabled parents to spend quality time together, playing, socialising and creating a play support network within their community. It aimed to:
- create sustainable play opportunities
- upskill parents to be volunteer playworkers and to lead play sessions
- provide a variety of play resources to encourage imaginative play
- improve the perception of the community
- provide children the opportunity to play outside
- bring the community together.
There will be further opportunities for more parents to undertake accredited play training courses and other courses which will increase employment opportunities. The playscheme also offers parents opportunities to join the local time banking scheme where they can earn credits for the hours that they volunteer and in return are awarded credits to ‘spend’ with local businesses.
The playscheme will eventually expand to offer play sessions during the summer holidays. External partners, for example, Learning Pembrokeshire and Dyfed Powys Police, are now attending the community centre, to meet the parents and to tell them about what they are able to offer in terms of support, advice and useful courses.
- Playing collaboratively and imaginatively with peers
- Engaged and happy
- Given a choice of equipment
- Using initiatives
- Taking responsibility for equipment
- Allowed to be children.
- Gained confidence and in turn started developing positive communication
- Increased self-esteem
- Gained new ideas, skills and knowledge
- Expanded their friendship circle
- Started changing negative perceptions of their community
- Become role models for children and other parents
- Signed up for other volunteering opportunities
- Accredited training and qualifications which could lead to paid work
- Improved wellbeing.
- Setting new routines
- Contributing to their community
- Accessing equipment for both parents and children to play together
- Increasing their opportunities for support from external agencies
- Having something to look forward to.
- Access to play sessions on the estate
- Access to a community centre
- Access to adult learning courses, for example literacy, maths and digital technology
- Opportunities to engage, socialise and build networks and friendships with other adults on the estate.
The parents summed up their experiences:
‘My play journey has been stressful, but I knew I was doing something that would benefit my community, growing up on the estate and seeing it being run down. We are now making it better for children. It has made a massive difference to me and my children – we play together a lot more now.’ Sarah
‘I have a great sense of pride seeing the children smile and enjoying themselves. Being a child is about having fun. Hopefully we have achieved this by doing the training and sessions every Wednesday.’ Linda
‘I’ve enjoyed the sessions with the children and getting to know all the people that attend. The confidence I have gained since starting has helped me loads. We aim to bring this community together.’ Leeanna
This project has Play Sufficiency Assessment Matters B, D, G and H.
The team’s achievements have been recognised nationally in the 2018 TPAS Cymru Awards, where they won third place in the Community Action category.