PLAY GLOUCESTERSHIRE is a registered charity that provides regular, free play sessions in urban parks and rural locations across the county. Our energetic Play Rangers deliver outdoor, active play, sports, arts and environmental activities to school-aged children throughout the year, whatever the weather.
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Heart of Gloucestershire Awards 2017

img_2869A short while ago a friend of Play Gloucestershire contacted us and said “I think you should be nominated for a Heart of Gloucestershire Award!”

So a nomination was placed and as a surprise to us all at Team PG we received an email saying we were a finalist in the Community Project of the Year category and would we like to attend the ceremony!

Now, it is rare to see our Play Rangers in anything but our very recognisable blue polo shirt, possibly shorts or tracksuit bottoms, perhaps a hoody, most certainly some sort of mud, paint or face paint splattered across them, so when our Team Leaders Katie & Ben attended the awards they had to spruce themselves up a bit.

It is a cliché, but it is an honour to be recognised by the judges (thank you) who must have had a really tough job coming up with the finalist, let alone picking a winner for each category!

The winner of our category was the amazing project/smart phone app Hollie Guard (available on iOS, windows and Android phones) please check it out, we have it on our phones. It is an amazing app and a worthy winner.

We had the honour to meet some truly inspiring people and hear their stories at the ceremony, at times it got emotional, there were plenty of giggles too.

Well done to all finalists and winners of course!

Paralympic Play

sitting-volleyballDuring the summer holidays the excitement for Olympic based play increased in line with Team GB’s success in Rio. On our return to after school play in September the feats of Paralympic GB inspired some of our play.

Using our tennis nets we made our own sitting volleyball court “This is harder than actual volleyball” one teenager told us. We then set about creating our own version of Goal Ball, for those that don’t know what Goal Ball is, you must have a look at some of the footage online IT. IS. AMAZING! Using a ball with a bell in it, teams of three compete in trying to score a goal by throwing the ball past the other team – the reason for the bell in the ball? All competitors are visually impaired and they use their hearing to dive and save the ball – superhero skills.

Using our trusty tennis net (multi use equipment or what!?) again and making a blindfold with material from the dressing up box we had ‘blind penalties’. Our goalies were visually impaired by the material and they had to trust and rely on their partner (behind the goal) to tell them which way to dive, we didn’t have a ball with a bell in it (we’re working on that) and we couldn’t guarantee complete silence. The penalties took place with plenty of strategy, skill and lots of laughter as we tricked each other occasionally to dive the wrong way!

With small adaptations to our kit and games we have enjoyed (and still do enjoy) our own little slice of Rio action.

by Ben Morris, Team Leader

A Rio-Inspired Summer of Play

Director of Play, Pip Levett, looks back at the Summer…

It’s hard to know where to start, when reviewing 89 days of play this summer in 27 Gloucestershire communities for more than 1,600 children and young people. I’ve tried to capture a few thoughts following our summer de-brief, and am staggered by the range of memorable moments, tricky situations, kindness, talent, reliability and stamina of Team PG.rio-summer-resized

Rio Olympic Inspired Play: We always connect with big international sporting events, and using our fab ‘Get Set Action’ resources spent much of the summer creating medals, Olympic hoops, flags, and setting each other challenges with hybrid Rio Olympic style events. Some girls made medals and created their own ceremony, singing a song that apparently represented ‘Planet Girl’. A boy in Springfield Park, Cheltenham just wanted to do running races and was unbeatable!

Rural Play Matters: We’ve added Willersey, in the Cotswolds to our growing list of rural villages that we take play out to. Whole families looked forward our visits and Robert, 11 told us succinctly “Every village in the entire world should have Play Rangers. It allows you to come outside and brings everyone together. It really is a nice idea”. Our rural play gatherings in Saul were given a boost by volunteers in the village opening up the Memorial Hall for toilets and tea, much to everyone’s delight. Up and down the County we had parents and grandparents helping out, bringing the Rangers cups of tea, and making lovely comments about Team PG. One Ranger told me “I felt almost overwhelmed by just how grateful the local parents were”.

Priceless Moment: In Chesterton, Cirencester a group of children spent much of the day hiding under a camouflaged tarp in the trees asking various Rangers to see if they could see any movement or hear them. One Ranger overheard the group doing what we call a dynamic risk assessment, working out how to avoid hurting themselves, whilst playing. So you do listen to our Rangers!

Feeding hungry children: We have met lots of hungry children this summer, and it has been our pleasure to share the food donated by Tesco Community Food Connection in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud. Simple food shared outdoors and fuelling active and creative play is a great recipe for childhood wellbeing.

Painful Injuries: Our First Aiders have been called into action this summer, because of course when children (and Rangers) play outdoors accidents happen. A little girl was bitten by a dog at one session, and our Rangers were so kind that her Mum left us a lovely phone message telling us how brilliant we’d been.

Separated Families: It can be very traumatic when parents split up, and difficult to find things to do together that are fun and free with the feel good factor. We’ve noticed quite a few Dads coming to our sessions with their children, and enjoying time together in a relaxed way. Many talk to us and other parents about the difficulties when families split, and we are able to offer our friendship and a sense of belonging.

I’m left reflecting on Team PG’s super human effort, the marvellous power of play and will end with words from a local Mum “Amazing… we had great fun, the staff are the best, the service second to none. Always a welcome and the children come away completely worn out. The children love everything from the games, arts and crafts, chatting with staff”.

Thank you Team PG, you are amazing!

PG deliver 89 days of Summer Holiday play!

This school summer holidays, our wonderful Play Rangers and Young Volunteers have delivered 89 play days in six weeks. At times, we have needed reviving with cold water dousing on scorching hot summer days, but we’re not complaining! We’ve inspired hundreds of tots to teens and beyond to ‘Get Out and Play!’ with us all summer, and we’ve visited a staggering 27 urban and rural communities across Gloucestershire providing more than 530 hours of free, fun outdoor play. Our Play Rangers are taking a well deserved rest from play until our after school programme re-starts on Monday 12th September 2016. More photos and stories from our summer of Rio Olympics inspired play soon.

Summer Hols 2016 RESIZED

National Play Day – Wednesday 3rd August

IMG_1801On Wednesday, thousands of children and young people from across the United Kingdom were out playing, celebrating Playday – the national day for play.

 This year’s Playday theme ‘Play Matters.’ celebrates the many benefits of playing out doors. Many of our childhood memories are reminiscent of climbing trees, making dens, jumping in puddles, making mud pies, rolling down hills, playing with water, chasing, hide and seek, climbing.

 It will be no surprise then to learn that when children talk about their preferred play experiences, they more often than not cite outdoor play as their favourite activity.   This makes sense; the outdoors is the very best place for children to practice and master emerging physical skills. Frequent and regular opportunities to explore and play in the outdoor environment is essential for children’s holistic health, their well-being, health, happiness, learning and development.

 So because we wanted to make sure the PLAY MATTERS message gets across Gloucestershire our Play Rangers are celebrating National Play Day across all of our play sessions this week from Willersley to Bishops Cleeve, from Chesterton to Gloucester and all sites in between.

 Tying into the theme of National Play Day we have been featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire discussing the importance of play IMG_1788and why it matters for children, young people, their families and their communities,  follow the links to hear from

 Director of Play Pip Levett – 1 hour 15mins in http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0417zgq#play

 Three of our AMAZING Young Volunteers & Active Play Coordinator Simon Jarvis

– 45mins in http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041809x

 Urban Team Leader Ben Morris – 46mins in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0418038

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