PAHF has worked closely with the Local Authority to develop a borough Play Strategy. This Strategy has taken into account current provision within the borough and set out the key priorities for play over the next 5 years.
PAHF is currently working alongside the Local Authority and other partners to ensure the work as set out in the action plan is completed. This document is key to the sustainability of play within the borough.
The key findings of the strategy are:
a. Lack of staffed open access play provision.
b. Need for supervised facilities for the over 8’s
c. Safety in parks, open spaces and public places
d. Cleanliness in parks, open spaces and public spaces
f. Access to facilities
g. More sport and exercise facilities
h. Creative imaginative facilities
i. Quality play provision
The key recommedations of the strategy are:
1. To work in partnership with a range of key stakeholders, including voluntary sector providers, police, housing, planning and parks in developing and maximising sustainable play provision and opportunities.
Partnership working is essential to embedding play across a number of departments within the borough. Extending support to the voluntary sector in order to develop further play opportunities will be a key focus of the play partnership and will lead to leverage of additional external funding. Consultation with children and their families will be essential in identifying areas of need and the type of play needed (i.e. supervised, fixed equipment etc) and will help to include marginalised communities. Responding to needs will help to ensure sustainability.
The play partnership will be tasked with promoting the play strategy and ensuring its inclusion in a number of other strategies and borough documents – i.e. Children and Young People’s Plan, Out of school services, Urban Development Plan, Local Area Agreement, Children’s Services commissioning structures etc.
Actions for this area include:
• Development of the Play Partnership – it is anticipated the nucleus for this will be the Play Strategy Advisory Group. The Partnership reporting to the Children and Young People’s Board.
• Support of the Summer Partnership
• Identifying and maintaining current levels of funding for Play (Voluntary and Statutory Sector)
• Developing further funding / sponsorship opportunities to develop provision.
• Ensure membership includes representation from marginalised communities.
• Ensure play is recognised within the LAA
2. To support and enhance existing provision to be of quality.
Quality play opportunities will help to ensure that children and young people access the best possible play experiences over a range of settings.
All play provisions will be offered support to provide a quality service that is registered and, where required, inspected by OfSTED to comply with childcare National Standards and achieve a National Quality Accreditation award.
The Play Partnership should audit provisions in order to assess quality against key indicators, including the value of the play experience of the child.
• Develop Play Workforce (training)
• Play Network support
• Quality Assurance support
• Organisational support
• Training to ensure staff’s delivery of “Opportunities for All”
• Ongoing audit of providers over the strategy
3. Development of supervised free open access provision.
Free open access staffed provision is currently limited across the borough. Children and parents highlighted staffed provision as they felt these offer the safest environments for children. There is a commitment to developing more free play staffed provision in the borough during term time, holidays and within open spaces. A range of staffed provision will be developed in partnership with existing and emerging voluntary sector groups. These will include a mobile play project and play sessions on estates. Accessibility for all children is key to the success of the Strategy. Attention therefore will be paid in supporting play settings to be inclusive play projects.
• Additional mobile play provision
• Supporting existing providers to develop play provision – i.e. supplementary schools, young carers project, Tenants Residents Associations
• Supporting and developing supervised provision to meet the needs of disabled children and young people.
• Support of Play Service Outreach opportunities for all play programme.
4. Increase in the range of accessible free play facilities in parks, open spaces and housing estates.
There is a need for quality accessible play areas within parks, open spaces and housing estates, especially developing areas and equipment for over 8’s. The Play Partnership will utilise the play planning guidelines which will indicate quality play opportunities for children. Special attention will be given to opportunities for play for children aged over 8. A database of fixed play equipment will be developed to assist with maintenance issues and supporting better planning of new creative, imaginative adventurous play area developments.
• Developing Play Areas Guidelines. – including research into over 8’s and accessible play equipment.
• Working in partnership with housing / planning / parks to identify budgets and ensure play areas are developed and maintained in accordance with play guidelines.
• Database of equipment.
5. Support marginalised communities to access provision
This includes disabled children, and other marginalised communities and is reflected across all recommendations. There is a need to ensure there are opportunities for all children across the borough to access play opportunities. For marginalised communities often dealing with a range of issues, play can offer further benefits.
Actions reflected across all other recommendations.
6. Adventurous and creative play opportunities
This is in response to recent studies which highlight the need for children and young people to face challenges and risks in their play, and the lack of adventurous creative play opportunities in the borough. The Play Partnership will oversee the development of play projects against the guidance developed, helping to ensure that future and existing projects across departments are developed / adapted to offer adventurous play.
• Produce guidelines on providing opportunities for all and quality standards on developing challenging and creative play environments – to be utilised and implemented across departments.
• To support and enhance existing play opportunities that meet the needs of all users.
• To work in partnership with funders, local agencies – i.e. Groundwork West London to develop innovative adventurous play opportunities.
7. Participation and consultation of children and families in development and delivery of provision.
The Play Partnership will promote and support the participation of children, young people and their families in the development and delivery of play opportunities. They will offer advice and guidance on participation models to existing play settings and will highlight models of best practice around true participation work. Extra attention will be paid to ensure that participation of marginalised groups is taking place. Further support will be given to local communities to enable them to respond to key findings around play needs and plan appropriately.
• Best practice guidance in how children and young people can be involved in services
• Set up peer inspection processes.
• Supporting local communities to develop new provision in areas of need.
8. Promote the value of free play across services
The Borough’s Children and Young People’s Partnership Board and the Play Association’s Play Forum are key to highlighting the importance of play. The Play Partnership will utilise various communication mechanisms in order to keep the profile of play on the agenda over the life time of the strategy.
• Promoting and delivering Play Day event annually.
• Borough wide campaign to promote all types of free play to families and children through borough publications.
• Support Play Partnership members to develop and promote play provision.
• Publicise launch of the strategy
• To develop further links with Children’s Information Service (CIS)
Please click on links below to download full documents.