Summer of Play Campaign Launches to Support Disadvantaged Children in the UK
Play Action International is a small UK based international development charity who use play-based programmes to enrich the lives of the worlds most disadvantaged children.
Play in the early years of life has a profound and long-lasting impact on a childs health, well-being, and long-term development. Studies have shown that early play experiences improve a childs physical growth, their capacity for learning, chances of finishing school, future employability, and even personal income. However, factors such as poverty, war, displacement, child labour, abuse and exploitation can severely limit a childs opportunity for play.
In the past 10 years, we have we have built over 370 playgrounds in primary schools, Early Childhood Development centres, refugee settlements and community settings in East Africa. Over 560,000 children have been provided with a safe place to play, heal, learn and develop. We have become the leading play-based NGO in Ugandas refugee settlements, where we have so far supported over 250,000 refugee children through play.
The schools where we have installed playgrounds and implemented our Educational Play programme, have benefitted from incredible results ranging from higher levels of enrolment and attendance to drastic improvements on childrens wellbeing and happiness.
This summer we are bringing our experience of and passion for play to support children in the UK who have been negatively affected by the pandemic restrictions.
The focus of this campaign is to launch our play-based programmes in the UK for children at risk of social exclusion who have been impacted by the pandemic.
We recognise that many disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic with children living in poverty having fewer opportunities to play safely. Indeed, recent research identified the extra costs involved in having children at home for longer without access to vital free services, requiring increased spending on food, heating, and occupying children indoors. Over a third of low-income families with children increased their spending during 2020. For many children in vulnerable families, the pandemic restrictions have impacted every part of their life including nutrition, education and play which has had an adverse effect on their physical and mental wellbeing.
We are bringing our expertise and experience of working with profoundly disadvantaged children in Africa to shape our work to support children in the UK.
SummerOfPlay is a campaign to give children the space, time, and freedom to play this summer as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased. The campaign is backed by major organisations such as Play England, Save the Children, The LEGO Foundation, NSPCC, Play Scotland, Play Wales, etc.
Inspiring Leaders – Play Action Award Winners
Inspiring Workplaces recognises inspiring leadership during the pandemic. Play Action International is delighted to announce that staff have won not one, but two awards!
Murielle Maupoint, Play Action International’s CEO has won an Inspiring leaders award, recognising her inspiring leadership during the pandemic. Murielle is thrilled, she said,
“It’s been a super tough year but I am blessed to work with an incredible group of people in the UK and Uganda who are passionately committed to what Play Action International stand for and what we do. Together, we have dug deep…we have innovated & pivoted & played, we have cried and laughed. 12 months on from the start of the pandemic and we are still driving forwards with the same resolve because we ALL believe in the amazing future of this very special organisation. A huge thanks to my team, trustees, our supporters and the wonderful children we serve. You inspire me. EVERY day!“
Jack Butterfield, Fundraising and Partnerships Manager at Play Action International has also won an inspiring leaders award. Jack said,
“I work with an incredible team of staff who have been supportive and understanding, creating this fantastic positive, can-do energy which is a joy to be around. Not to mention as well as dedicated, passionate student leaders, volunteers and supporters who all share an unrivalled amount of commitment and passion to the work we do.”
We want to congratulate Murielle and Jack for their incredible achievements!
Improving School Attendance Through Play
Play Action International recently partnered with the World We Want Foundation and the Nasio Trust to install exciting and safe playgrounds, hand-washing facilities and deliver play training to schools, Early Childhood Development Centres and a local hospital in Kenya.
The aim of the programme was to encourage children to attend school and to help teachers integrate play into their teaching to maximise learning outcomes. At the end of 2020, and in just 9 days, after working with a wonderful workforce from the local community, 5 playgrounds were constructed and were ready to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
As part of the playground building process, a community sensitisation project was undertaken, highlighting the importance of the playgrounds to teachers and social workers, as well as healthcare professionals. All those who attended the training sessions, learned how to use the playgrounds to improve children’s learning experiences.
As well as the playground builds, the installation of hand-washing facilities have resulted in hundreds of children and community members being able to use these to help protect them against COVID-19.
The programme has seen some incredible outcome in the weeks since it was implemented including significant involvement from many members of local communities, from the building stage to now – meaning the local population want to make use of the new facilities as they can see the benefits, including an increased rate of school attendance.
As a result of these successes, the programme has seen a call for more training for other community members, as well as more playgrounds and hand-washing facilities which could all benefit other disadvantaged children and provide further employment opportunities for additional communities.