Families praise Wansdyke Play Association’s impact after using grant to boost local health and wellbeing

Children, young people, families and carers praised the work done by Wansdyke Play Association this year after making the most of the great outdoors after the association used dedicated funding to support children and their development through ‘play’.

Local mum Diane, who brought her two children along to the sessions this year said the activities are great for children, help build their social interaction skills and offer something for everyone.

She said: “We come because there are great activities for the kids, they can do what they want and it’s local. It also helps improve their social interaction because there are many other children, and the sessions merge different school ages together.

“Not only that but they’ve also learnt important life skills, how to eat healthy and how to make healthy food. This has helped us at home too,” Diane added.

10 two-hour sessions full of ball sports, active play, craft activities to support school work were all put together following feedback from families and funding made available by Virgin Care’s Community Wellness Fund Grant Programme. The grant programme provides opportunities to local community groups and charities like the WPA to help improve the health and wellbeing of local people through selected initiatives.

The WPA, which has a strong reputation locally in Bath and North East Somerset for its work supporting children and the development of communities through play for more than 25 years, secured almost £2,000 from the fund – which is part of Virgin Care’s contract with Bath Council and the local NHS to bring health and care services together and improve outcomes by allowing local people to stay well and proactively look after their health. Funds are managed by the Quartet Community Foundation, who run the application and grant award process as well as track outcomes.

Since receiving support, families say the sessions have gone from strength to strength, with the grant being used to run the family fun play and eat sessions which brought dozens of young people along each week to the small playground at The Plantation in Writhlington, Radstock.

“I’d recommend anyone to come along it’s good for children’s confidence and they learn so much trying new things they might not get through school. Trying new things is good for them; something new gives them a new perspective,” said young dad Andy who attended with his children.

Stacey Pottinger, Business Development Office at Wansdyke Play Association, said: “The funding for our play sessions helped to increase self-confidence for the young people coming along as they learnt new skills and enjoyed new play opportunities. They learnt about healthy lifestyles and the families enjoyed the opportunity to play, cook and eat together and we couldn’t have offered this without the funding received from the grant programme.”

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Services for Virgin Care, said: “It’s fantastic to see how vital funds are helping organisations like the WPA to run sessions for children, young people and their families to experience new things while building new skills that they can use in everyday life.”

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