APE is an acronym for Art, Play, Environment and these are the three key principles that drive our mission to enhance the lives of children and young people through the provision of open access freely chosen play opportunities and quality activities.
We aim to deliver supportive environments and workshops for children and young people promoting creative problem solving, sense of self worth, co-operative learning, resilience, risk taking, and development of social skills. We provide stimulating, challenging, exciting and educational experiences in a safe open space where children feel valued and supported.
St. Pauls and the Adventure Playground - In 2017 the APE Project took on the management and running of St. Pauls Adventure Playground through a Community Asset Transfer from Bristol City Council. St. Pauls is in an area that has seen, and is still in the process of much change. A melting pot of once a predominantly Afro Caribbean Windrush generation is now joined by an influx of families from Somalia, East Africa and the Middle East, many finding refuge in this city fleeing from war torn homelands. Our playground is a space where people come together - a neutral family focused centre, which helps people makes friends, breaks down barriers and eases tensions between disparate communities. We open the gates to St Pauls Adventure Playground 3 days a week and welcome around 150+ children and 75+ parents and carers to play, meet, make, experiment, get creative, eat and find support.
Why Funding is Needed - The reality is that many communal spaces and parks in the area are not safe environments for children and young people due to criminal and social issues. St. Pauls Adventure Playground provides a consistent, safe community space where through free play and projects the community is bought together regardless of socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, background or history.
The Good News
Since the adventure playground was taken over by the APE Project, we have grown from 12 registered families to over 700. With no government provision for under 12’s we are able to identify more ‘at risk’ children, young people and families that would otherwise go unnoticed. Our intervention means we are able signpost families to resources and services earlier than other organisations might.
We strive to facilitate an open, supportive, social environment where children and young people are encouraged to take ownership of the play space and decision making, to create an inclusive, egalitarian play space for all. We create a climate for children to participate in activities in a variety of concerns: ecology, recycling and sustainability, life skills, bicycle maintenance, art, design, craft, invention and cooking. Our facilities are fully inclusive and open to all. Monitoring in Autumn 2019 figures show that:
- 70% of our users are classed as BME
- 40% identify as Somali or Somali British
- over 50% live in social housing and only 15% are homeowners
The Funding Ask - The APE Project run Saturday sessions for disabled children and currently have an average of 26 children at each session. The majority of these are aged between 0-13 years. Activities include:
- Cooking on the open fire - popcorn and apple fritters
- Crafts: paper mâché, giant insects, origami, slime
- Photography and shadow puppets
- Sports: football, specially adapted bikes
- Circus skills
- Spray paint bikes
- Reading books
- Dress up and face painting
- Outdoor play - boarder swing, slides, swings, nets
- Sensory Room
- CHAMP and crash mat arena
- Sensory garden and large outdoor musical instruments
To this purpose we are seeking funding for some vital equipment to enhance the activities we offer disabled children and those with learning difficulties. We require funding to pay for a disabled friendly enclosed slide. Any funding towards this goal would be fantastic and help us to meet the needs of disabled children using our services.
Why is it important and what are the benefits
• 92% per cent of families with disabled children say that finding care for disabled children is more difficult compared to non-disabled children (Counting the Costs, 2014).
• The majority of disabled children participate in a limited number and range of leisure activities (Fair play for disabled children: Bevan foundation report, 2010).
• Positive relationships will be built as children try out activities alongside each other.
• Physical activity leads to improved self – esteem and confidence. It will also improve balance, spatial awareness, coordination and motor skills.
• Our activities provide an outlet for physical energy, can reduce anxiety and support positive behaviour.
• Nearly half the people living in poverty in 2019 were families where a member has a disability.
• Children can develop a sense of accomplishment as they tackle a new experience.
• To ensure the facilities are fully inclusive
• To promote safety and reduce risk
Developing body awareness and a range of movement options for disabled children can bring general improvements in coordination, and also help to raise confidence and self-esteem. By helping youngsters feel more at home with their bodies and giving them the chance to explore what they can do will promote trust, cooperation, communication and language. The activities and exercises we promote can improve collaboration, team working and social skills, as well as breaking down stereo-types and stigma’s about disabilities.