The Play Gloucestershire blue vans are getting on a bit now – they were bought when the charity started work in 2008. While regular maintenance keeps them running smoothly, the inevitable dings and scrapes that happen over the years mean they are no longer looking their best. Recently the Finlay Foundation and Nationwide helped us with the cost of refurbishing one of the vans which now looks fantastic. Since then Nationwide have come back to us with the exciting news that they are giving us a very generous donation of £4,900 to pay for the remaining four vans to be refurbished.
But Nationwide wanted to offer even more than a donation and arranged to bring a group of volunteers to come and give the vans and the equipment a thorough clean and tidy before the busy summer season. Five volunteers from the Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester branches came to meet us at Robinswood Hill on Wednesday 8th July and did a wonderful job of cleaning the vans; they then had lunch and chatted with PG staff to find out more about the work Play Gloucestershire does.
Branch Manager, Nick Craddock, commented, ‘All of my team really enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the branch and do something tangible for a worthwhile charity. Although hard work, it was great to hear in detail what Play Gloucestershire did and in particular to get to talk to the Play Rangers. That and seeing the amount of “stuff” you have in the vans gave us a real idea of what you’re all about. It was fab.’
‘With regard to the Van refurbs we were delighted that Play Glos was chosen out of all the nominated charities to receive the grant. This is a tough process as charities apply to Nationwide for the grant by completing an application. The criteria for consideration are quite tough; we then choose from all of those applications who wins. Happily it was Play Gloucestershire which is special for us as we are building an ever closer relationship with you. The grant really helps us support something in our local community. We support Play Gloucestershire because of the great work they do in local communities for children.’
We would like to say a big Thank You to everyone at Nationwide for all their hard work and for their continuing support.
There was glorious sunshine and summer heat for our Young Volunteers training weekend in Saul. Glamping on the playing fields, 20 young people joined us to develop their playwork skills, plan for some Rio Olympic inspired fun over this summer, and of course to meet and make friends. On the Saturday, Team Leaders Ben and led workshops on the Edge of Chaos, the Manchester Circles, physical literacy and the Playwork Principles. There was also lots of team building and problem solving challenges as the Young Volunteers navigated their way through ‘Play Land’ – a fantasy scenario involving dragon eggs, the Lake of Misery and Mount Doom!
Although technically we called it a sleepover, not much sleep happened, and the local foxes did their best to terrify some young people with some close encounters. On Sunday the Young Volunteers ranging in age from 11 to 18, started to plan for some playful Olympic fun, cooked their lunch on small fire pits foraging for wood, and cooled down with a water fight.
Grateful thanks to the High Sheriff’s Fund for again supporting our Young Volunteer development. We salute you Young Volunteers! You are amazing and we couldn’t do what we do without your playful fun, kindness and energy.
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A while ago we told you that the lovely people at Attapoll have us as a chosen charity you can donate to via their quick survey service. THANK YOU to those who have donated already!
Previously they have only been available on android phones, but this week Attapoll are up and running on the Apple app store.
If you have a smart phone and want to donate money to Play Gloucestershire for answering short (“micro”) surveys, download the app and follow the instructions.
Thank you for advance from all at Team PG
At this time of year, our Play Rangers are supporting lots of year 6 children who are feeling under pressure from their SATs exams. The build up to these tests is intense, as schools feel the pressure to secure good results. There is lots of controversy around the wisdom of testing children in this way, and the effect it has on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Our Play Rangers are supporting year 6 children through both community and school-based play. We see outdoor play as the essential antidote to exam pressures, and our afterschool community sessions really help by providing active and creative child-led play supported by kind playworkers and of course helped by some very healthy snacks. All designed to relieve stress and help children sleep well!
This year we have also provided an in-school Play Nurture Group (PNG) specifically commissioned by a Head Teacher to help with SATs anxieties. This was a creative approach to supporting mental wellbeing, and recognises the restorative effect of outdoor play.
Since Play Gloucestershire was launched in 2007, an astonishing 100,000 visits to play sessions around Gloucestershire have been clocked up by almost 11,000 children and young people.
“This is a very special milestone for Play Gloucestershire” said Pip Levett, Director of Play. “It’s incredible to think that since I established the charity in 2007, thousands of children and young people have taken part in play sessions across 84 urban and rural Gloucestershire communities.
“Our wonderful team of professional Play Rangers and Young Volunteers support local children and families, in particular those who are disadvantaged, through the transformative power of play. We believe that outdoor play is an essential part of a happy and healthy childhood. Not only are our play sessions good for physical wellbeing, but also, importantly, it helps with mental wellbeing. Our activities help young people to meet and make friends and create a healthy outdoor play habit that they can sustain for life.”
During February half term, we had lots of media interest in our big milestone, with BBC Radio Gloucestershire reporting live from our Podsmead play day. Local newspapers also covered the event, and we would like to thank all the young people that helped promote Play Gloucestershire and advocate for play throughout the week.