Play in the Community
Outreach play sessions in Conwy
The Met Office declared February 2020 as the wettest February on record, with police departments in parts of Wales declaring critical incidents as they and other emergency services worked to protect property and residents. Hundreds of homes were flooded as water ran off saturated hills and fields along the western half of the UK.
Nathania Minard, Principal Play Officer at Community and Voluntary Support Conwy (CVSC) tells us about a partnership project which supported children who had experienced flooding.
During February half term there were many families affected by flooding across Conwy and in particular, the town of Llanrwst. Our Play Development Team teamed up with Cartrefi Conwy, a registered social landlord, to provide drop in open access play sessions across six areas in the county to support children and families affected by area flooding.
The play sessions, staffed by the Play Development Team and Cartrefi Conwy’s Community Involvement Team, operated in community spaces such as parks and children could attend as and when they wished. The sessions were advertised across social media and families were encouraged to turn up and come and play.
Staff provided resources and children took to building dens, playing in the mud kitchen and with loose parts, and cooking on the fire. The sessions also included arts and crafts and sports activities.
To further support families in affected areas and building upon other play development workshops that had operated in Llanrwst, the Conwy County Borough Council Family Support Team and CVSC Play Development Team hosted a cardboard city play event in the local family centre. The event provided time and space for children to play and recapture the joy in the world through their play while parents could access other vital support. The family centre was providing support such as food, clothing and financial advice, to families who had lost their homes or been affected by the flooding.
The aim of the play sessions was to provide rich play opportunities for children during a time of crisis and uncertainty. We were able to help children find places to play in their local area, offering a range of rich play opportunities that were fun and new to some of them.
Parents were thankful and reported feeling reassured that their children were happy and safe whilst they had an opportunity to access support. Although family workers and social workers were at the event and lots of other work was going on, the event remained very focused on children having time and space for playing. Families played together and took resources home to carry on the fun! Lots of cardboard boxes could be seen walking down the road at the end of the event!