Parks for Play
Parks for Play offers children, young people and families the opportunity to enjoy affordable, accessible play and leisure in parks, streets, and clubs.
Parks for Play is a ten year old south Birmingham not- for- Profit Company and charity located in Kings Heath. The organisation has been delivering exceptional play and leisure opportunities in community venues, streets and of course, parks, since its inception. Parks for Play has conducted continuous consultation with children, young people, and families through play outreach programmes in schools and during community play and leisure events. This enquiry has focussed on access to local play and leisure opportunities for all children and particularly children at risk of social exclusion because of their individuals needs, most often a disability.
Parks for Play was created by a group of parents with children on the autism spectrum who found it impossible for their children to access community play and leisure services unless they provided additional staff themselves! Large green spaces for their little runners, who had a spirit of adventure bigger than their sense of consequence, made visits to parks more challenging than comforting. These parents decided to turn their world inside out and create local play services that gave traditionally excluded children priority access. They also delivered universally popular, accessible, free, Wild about Outdoor Play holiday play-schemes welcoming everyone in the community. Along the way they campaigned to improve public spaces through more accessible design for the children and young people at the heart of what they do and to benefit the wider community.
Parks for Play runs Saturday term time play and leisure clubs that give priority access to local children and young people with additional needs. These clubs refuse to exclude any individual on the grounds of their disability and also welcome siblings and local friends. Children with the highest needs are put at the centre of planning. This gets it right for them and does not create barriers for anyone else! Holiday and weekend services work on an invited donations basis to ensure that ALL local children can enjoy quality play opportunities. Play is regarded as the most vital and engaging route to developing resilient human beings and the most effective community glue. Inclusive play has a significant role to play in bringing together families who would not otherwise make informal community connections that create a safety net for family- to- family support and wellbeing. Local parks and streets will continue to be transformed and protected as inclusive play spaces.