An image of children at the Big Swing adventure playground in Eccleshill, Bradford

Play Bradford (formerly Eccleshill Adventure Playground), is funded by the Trust through the Active Communities funding programme. It has an overall aim to improve the lives of children and young people through the provision of sustainable play opportunities, using the power of play as a catalyst for social change.

In this blog we hear from Janet Jewitt, Manager at Play Bradford.

“Since Play Bradford became part of the two-year Active Community funding programme, we have seen such positive changes within our service delivery and from the young people we have welcomed through our gates. As part of the Playwork practice, we have to keep the children at the heart of what we do and having the financial support from People’s Health Trust has enabled us to do this.

Play Bradford, acts as the central hub for our delivery program and we filter our service through our projects that are dotted over the city. We operate our service mainly from The Big Swing site in Eccleshill and provide our service through our other projects; Mobile Adventurous Play, The Inclusion Project, and the Bradford Community Play Partnership. All of which play a vital role in continuing the children’s right to play movement in the Bradford District.

8544 Play Bradford
The playground after construction
One of our main aims over the two years has been to widen our service offering by providing our adventure play sessions to more children within the Bradford District. Our initial aim was to provide 600 children with our service, however at the end of the two year grant we doubled this figure and supported 1,312 children - which is just fantastic. We’re also thrilled that all of the children who joined us at our sessions have been from the target area, which means we’ve been able to act as a support mechanism to the most vulnerable children in the community.

We have also managed to extend our service delivery through installing new structures at The Big Swing site. One of the main additions was the installation of our ‘Play Fort’ in Summer 2019 (picture below). Right from the very beginning we asked the children to be a part of the design process, by working with our play team who then developed their ideas into a blueprint for the build. As a result, the local children, who are supported through the Active Communities grant, were so proud of their achievements, in support of their overall well-being, building respect for their ‘teammates’ and community, something we continually aim to achieve.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have had to adapt our service and divert the People’s Health Trust funding into our recent initiative, The Platter Project. Operating at The Big Swing site, the Platter Project provides the community’s most vulnerable children with play sessions and evening meals throughout the week. The reason why we chose to feed the children in the evening, was because our team noticed that they were fed during the day through other schemes, however they also noticed that post lunchtime they weren’t provided with any meals. Our team sources the food from local food banks and initiatives and have worked really hard to make sure the meals are nutritious and keep the kids fulfilled. Throughout the summer, we managed to feed 152 children, serve 702 portions and hold 51 play sessions – which we are over the moon about.

As you can imagine, the Platter Project has been really positively received and we couldn't have done it without the Active Communities funding. It’s something we’re really wanting to continue going forward and are looking at how we can make this possible.

Follow Play Bradford at @Play_Bradford on Twitter or Facebook

Play Bradford is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery Yorkshire and the Humber.

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