Established in 1974 to co-ordinate the numerous Volunteer Play Schemes that had started across the county, the Oxfordshire Play Association (OPA) now leads the charge on ensuring that all young people in our area have access to high quality, inclusive play opportunities. The charity has successfully applied for a £1,000 grant from Eynsham Parish Council which will help to cover the costs of an upcoming local event and ensure it remains free to all attendees.
Play is seen as vital to a child’s development and learning, with a ‘right to play’ having been established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2022, play matters more than ever. Martin Gillett, OPA Manager, explains:
“For almost two years, children across the UK have been forced to spend time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is not surprising that we have seen unprecedented increases in children’s mental health problems and loneliness, alongside reduced physical activity.”
The previous years have seen many of the OPA’s activities and events cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. Martin is hopeful that 2022 will see a resumption of normal service, which includes providing Playday events, Street Play, Therapeutic Playwork, Junior Youth Clubs, Stay & Play sessions, Saturdads and Play Training.
For Eynsham residents, we can look forward to a Community Play & Activity Day on 28 July 2022. This event has been held previously in the village (2013, 2016, 2019 and 2021) and provides a whole range of activities for families, carers and children. Previous events have included everything from go karting and drumming to face painting and bike trails.
“We’re excited about bringing our activity day back to Eynsham for 2022,” says Martin. “The grant will help us cover the cost of the event, things like hiring the activities, re-imbursing volunteer travel expenses and facilities management.”
Martin is keen to hear from local organisations interested in running free activities on the day alongside the existing events already being booked. Considering the range of community organisations in Eynsham – and the varied skills of our residents – there is great scope for some stimulating and enjoyable activities delivered by our local people. Not only will it be a fun day for all attendees, getting involved also presents a good opportunity to promote local organisations and groups to the families living in the area. If you’re interested, please contact Martin by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully many of you will take the opportunity to join in the fun with your young people on 28 July and promote the importance of play in their lives, especially after a few challenging years of lockdowns. More details on the event will be shared as we get closer to the date. Read more about the work of the Oxfordshire Play Association on their website.
Do you want to read about more of our successful grant applicants? Keep an eye on the website for our monthly articles on these great local projects and groups.