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Learning about the importance of play

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BT Coleraine

A number of local practitioners have taken part in a play development programme with the support of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Sport and Wellbeing Department and the Community Planning Team.

The PlayShaper programme is an element of ‘Play Matters’, a Play and Leisure Project funded through the Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP).

The initiative, delivered by Playboard staff, offers professional play development, training and guidance for stakeholders who directly or indirectly influence play within Council and other Statutory Organisations.

Participants included local elected representatives, policy-makers, equality officers, and representatives from sports development, arts & culture, health & safety, estate development, planning officers and health professionals. The overall aim is to help professionals understand the importance of play and leisure and their part in creating child-friendly and play-friendly communities.

Councillor Dermot Nicholl, Chair of Causeway Coast and Glens Community Planning Strategic Partnership said: “The programme offered individuals an opportunity to engage with a range of like-minded professionals across a variety of public services and aimed to help each understand the potential influence and importance of play and leisure within their role in achieving key health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Causeway Coast and Glens as outlined in our Community Plan.”

Iain McAfee, Training and Development Officer from PlayBoard added: “The PlayShaper programme focuses on the Child’s Right to Play, understanding the importance of play and leisure, and the role that staff have in enabling or restricting play within the public realm. Through the four sessions participants explored areas such as the policy requirements, play deprivation, the importance of play including the benefits of risk taking in the play environment for learning, development, positive mental health and resilience. Throughout the programme we emphasised the need to develop child friendly environments by ensuring the space, time and attitudes are in place. The programme is also timely for the Council as it looks to implement its Play Investment Strategy.”

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