The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) has earmarked an allocation of funding to each local authority area across England. Funding is available for both capital and revenue projects. Waverley as a borough has been allocated a grant of £200,000. To access this grant the Council as the lead body has to make a submission on behalf of communities and organizations across the Borough. Any application to the BLF must be accompanied by a Play Strategy, which is adopted by the Local Authority. The Strategy being presented today incorporates elements, which will form part of the BLF application for funding.
1. Play has been recognised as being fundamental to children’s social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional development, and considered to be the main way in which most children express their impulse to explore, experiment and understand.
2. There is a wide range of play definitions. Getting Serious About Play (2004) uses the straightforward description of play as: ‘What children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests in their own way and for their own reasons’.
3. The Play Strategy aims to enhance and develop play opportunities in their widest sense within Waverley. The Strategy looks at the current play provision and seeks to identify areas where play opportunities are limited and identify how they can be improved and developed.
4. The Strategy seeks to meet the identified needs of all children and young people within local communities, and acknowledge the needs of groups that have traditionally suffered exclusion including children with disabilities. The Strategy also aims to ensure that that play spaces enhance the quality of the local environment for children and young people.
5. The process for the development of the play strategy required the establishment of a local play steering group, facilitated by the local authority. The Steering Group includes representatives from; the town and parish councils, voluntary play organisations, Disability Challenges (a charitable organisation that provides play and leisure activities for children and young people with disabilities), representatives from Waverley Borough Council planning, housing and countryside services, Surrey County Council’s Early Years Service and various local play organisations.
6. The Steering group will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the action plan and will play a pivotal role in securing other sources of funding in addition to the BLF grant to contribute to the implementation of key priorities within the Strategy.
Every Child Matters: Change for Children
7. The Governments document Every Child Matters; Change for Children (December 2004) indicates the national and local priorities for children’s services. It sets out an outcomes framework, which includes the five outcomes for children and young people, which are:
18. The formation of the Play Steering Group provides a new opportunity for the Council to facilitate new partnership working to promote play and to improve facilities across the borough.
19. The Strategy incorporates priority areas for play development and the action plan identified initiatives to deliver the strategic aims of the strategy some of which will be funded through both BLF, in addition to external grants. The Council through Section 106 developer contributions linked to planning approvals will also be in a position to fund new capital schemes.
20. In order to apply for the funding it is a requisite that the BLF application is accompanied by a play strategy, which has been officially adopted by the local authority. Officers are therefore recommending that the Council adopt the Waverley Play Strategy.
That the Executive:-