Holiday Play Scheme for Radstock and Westfield

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Radstock and Westfield Big Local are proud to have funded The Community Bus to deliver holiday play schemes in our area. We asked Mel Clarke how they got on:

How has the funding helped our local community?

This project addressed social inclusion by bringing children together for play and to make

friends. Social deprivation is tackled by the quality of the facilities and activities on offer.

The skills learnt will help to combat the disadvantage of being brought up isolated and poor

which will affect their school and home life in later years.

All the activities were freely chosen and child-led. The upper deck of the double decker was

used for table games, dressing up, construction toys and books. The lower deck was a junk

modelling workshop and sports, games and other, often messy activities were outside the

Bus. The playschemes were run with one member of the team having special responsibility

for inclusion. We worked with a local Parent Support Advisor and a Family Play Inclusion

Worker bringing families needing specific support to the scheme. The playscheme was

advertised at all the local primary schools with flyers distributed locally, to health visitors,

clinics, shops, children centre newsletters and community noticeboards.

This project strengthens community cohesion by bringing local children together, building

trust, and reducing boredom. It is local provision, in areas where there is social housing and

aims to be as inclusive as possible. The play is mainly active, outdoor, traditional play which

encourages healthy outcomes such as improved confidence, independence, positive

behaviour, increased participation, increased physical and mental health. Connecting people

builds trust, well-being and safety for children and families.

 

Why did you choose to help Radstock and Westfield?

The local authority has identified these areas in need of play provision. The local play

strategy highlights the need to provide rural services. The Community Bus provides services

to families with preschool children (with other funding) in the area and many of these

families have children of school age with nothing to do in the holidays. The families we

reach are low-income families, many without transport so are not able to access the

facilities in the denser populated areas. Public transport is infrequent and expensive. The

children and young people are isolated in the holidays as the lanes are dangerous to walk or

cycle and they are often miles apart from their school friends. Surveys of parents have

confirmed that holiday playschemes are valued and needed by families to help them get

through the long summer holidays. This project will improve the life skills of the children

attending by providing play, sporting and arts activities that they wouldn't otherwise have

access to.

The playschemes are a much-valued service that parents and children say is a life-line in the

holidays. The regulation and organisation of the scheme gives parents confidence to leave

their children and they like the wealth of freely-chosen, child-led activities on offer. It breaks

the isolation of school holidays, encourages ideas for play, gets children away from screens,

brings people together and improves community relations.

The Community Bus operates with a model of delivering services to families with preschool

children during term time and playschemes for 5-12 year olds during the holidays often in

the same villages. The continuity builds trust and confidence and strengthens communities.