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Play is good for children, good for families and good for communities. We know this from our work, and research provides the theory to back this up. At Play Gloucestershire we believe that outdoor play is an essential part of a healthy and happy childhood. So many good things happen to children when they are given the time and space for play in their home community. And yet today’s children are spending less and less time outside, and are suffering from more mental and physical health problems.
We run child-led play sessions in community settings, in schools and in our own Play Sanctuary. We offer both general and therapeutic Play Nurture sessions.
What is Play Nurture?
Sometimes children need more help than we can offer them during a busy community play session. This is why we have developed our more targeted support which we call Play Nurture. It is how we help children impacted by adverse childhood experiences to cope with adversity and build resilience using the incredible power of play.
The child-led outdoor play is aimed at children whose physical health, emotional health and childhood well-being are impacted by anxiety and stress, either as a result of the social and emotional challenges of everyday childhood, or because they are facing complex psychological and physical difficulties that make them particularly vulnerable.
Our Director of Play, Pip Levett, has a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills and leads our Play Nurture. Our core team of Play Rangers have undertaken training in Counselling Skills for Working with Children with Place2Be, as well as other training in play work and specific aspects of therapeutic play including Lego based therapy.
What is Community Play?
Community play takes place in public parks and green spaces. Activities are free at the point of delivery, and our community play for most is easy to access, being a short walk or bike ride from where children live. This means they do not need to rely on adults providing money or transport to take part – they can simply choose to get to their local open space and join in.
The range of positive activities that Play Gloucestershire’s Play Rangers provide is huge. Our customised and branded vans contain all sorts of active and creative play equipment. Children can play informal sports, build dens, active games such as tag, water fights, hide & seek, creative art, using and adapting existing play equipment. It results in all ages and abilities playing together on a shared community space from toddlers to teenagers to grandparents.
Advocating for play and playwork is a vital part of our work. As playworkers, we recognise our responsibility to help children speak out about their play needs, and for us to speak up on their behalf, when we get the opportunity in forums and meetings.
As passionate play advocates, you will see our Play Rangers and Young Volunteers talking to children, parents, grandparents, professionals, and other park users about the amazing power of play. In this way, we spread the word about just how important play is for children, families and communities.
Feedback from Funders
"The Play Rangers provide a safe space allowing all ages to play together. The impact at community level are parks being utilised by all. At individual level the Rangers are teaching the art of playing and having fun. Children create lasting bonds with the Rangers who become role models and safe adults who they can turn to for support should they want to. Many of them do”
Stroud Town Council
“You’re great value for money, there’s always so much going on and your Rangers are great at engaging with children and families”.
Cirencester Town Council
Feedback from Children
"Play Rangers can turn a bad day into a good day."
J, aged 10
“Play made me feel happy. I feel really, really, really, really happy. It’s good for me to get out. More play please. Yes, yes, yes!
S, aged 8
“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”
E, aged 11