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Engaging Communities Through Play
Bringing Communities Together Through Play
This model of community engagement is based upon evidence gathered by existing community services managed by Wansdyke Play Association
Play is used as a catalyst through which to increase community cohesion. We know that activities which bring people of all ages together to share a common goal such as improvements to parks and shared public space and organisation of community events can only succeed by harnessing local knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment. Regular and highly visible play services are an ideal vehicle for encouraging social interaction and involvement at a local level.
Local ownership and participation
We ensure that work to set up, develop and sustain play provision involves parents, local residents, professionals and children who really know the area. Activities are then tailored to each community’s needs and identity. To ensure continued participation and local ownership steering groups are established.
Positive links between young and old
Through our principles of positive and clear communication between people of all ages volunteers gain confidence and skills in engaging with children, listening to their views and including them in community changes. As a result children and young people value shared space and understand better how their behaviour can support this.
We propose to work alongside local residents to support them in researching local needs and starting projects for children and families which meet the needs of their local area. A range of facilitated activities can be run including after schools clubs, holiday playschemes and community play rangers working in parks and open spaces.
The starting and finishing point for our work is to develop sustainable models of work which can be managed and maintained in the future local stakeholders, parents, children and young people themselves. We provide fundraising advice and support with writing bids and ensure that local partners are made aware of strategic policy, evidence and research which can support their work.
Recruitment and training of volunteers
By empowering community members to work alongside our experienced staff team, gain relevant qualifications and participate in personal development programmes we increase access to volunteering, employment and training.
Working with community centres including schools, churches and children's centres.
We recognise community bases as an integral part of the community and we know that many want to have a more active role in community development for their local area. This can happen in a variety of ways including, access to school grounds, out of school play opportunities, family playdays, special events and collaborative work with other schools, children's centres and churches in the area. However, schools have told us that they require play and community work expertise to assist in this work.
The development model we plan to use will enable communities to become stronger through knowledge and skills acquisition through the example, facilitation and mentoring offered by WPA and partner organisations.