For the past two years, a summer play scheme has been running in Thurcroft Big Local – a village in South Yorkshire. It is volunteer run and was thought up by Cath McCarten, a resident who’s involved in Big Local.
Cath first heard about Big Local through going to watch her sons play football and later went along to a meeting to find out more. Before being involved in Big Local, Cath hadn’t done much volunteering, apart from helping out at children’s discos. Joining the steering group, Cath and her sister Diane Oxley got involved in organising events as part of Big Local activities.
In Thurcroft there isn’t much available for young children, apart from a Scouts group. As Cath explains:
“My sons are grown up now but I have nieces and nephews and there’s nothing for them to do. There are no youth clubs. My daughter-in-law works in a local nursery and even that’s closed in the summer. So that’s where I got the idea from.”
So Cath began looking into setting up a summer play scheme. She received guidance from Ofsted about what measures would need to be put in place to make the scheme safe and the Miners Institute agreed to let Cath use their cricket pavilion over the summer for the scheme free of charge.
In summer 2013 the play scheme launched and was run one day a week for five weeks. It was offered for free using both paid workers and volunteers and the cost to staff the scheme was paid for using Big Local funding, as was the cost for materials. The play scheme was hugely popular with up to 75 children attending each day.
Cath and her sister ran the scheme again this year and feel that this second year was much easier having the experience and learning from the previous year. This year the scheme was run with fewer paid workers and more volunteers. Some of the paid workers included people who are working towards their NVQs in sports and ran outdoor activities with the children.
People have seen the play scheme working in the community and it has helped to raise awareness about Big Local. Cath says:
“It’s much more than just a play scheme, it’s opened people’s eyes to what’s happening with Big Local.”
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