Council of the Isles of Scilly
Play Strategy 2007-2010
Isles of Scilly Play Strategy 2007 - 2010
“The child’s right to a place to play is the citizen’s first claim on the community.
Play is nature’s first training for life. No community can infringe that right without
doing enduring harm to the minds and bodies of its citizens.”
David Lloyd George – 1925
Terms of reference
Work on this play strategy was initiated in 2005 with the aim of managing the
development of good quality play opportunities for children and young people on
the Islands. This coincided with the Big Lottery Fund’s announcement in
November 2005 that the Islands have been awarded £100,000. This programme
and grant originates from the Children’s Play Initiative which has committed £155
million across all single tier and district council areas in England over 3 years.
The aims of the Big Lottery Fund Children’s Play Initiative are -
• To create, improve and develop children and young people’s free local
• To ensure that good, inclusive, accessible and sustainable children’s play
services and facilities are provided locally.
• To support innovative and new ways of providing for children’s play.
• To create a support and development infrastructure to ensure local
agencies have the resources and skills required to meet targets.
This strategy aims to represent the views of key partners and identifies key local
actions and methods for delivering outcomes.
This strategy encompasses all aspects of play relevant to children and young
people on Scilly. It provides a framework for all stakeholders and acts as a tool
for regulating and maintaining consistency during the decision making process.
Big Lottery Funding is provided to assist all local authorities create, improve and
develop local play spaces. The allocation of £100,000 of funding has been
calculated based on our local child population, weighted by the level of local
poverty. Scilly has received the lowest allocation of any authority in the United
Funding for projects outlined within this strategy need not be limited to the Big
Lottery Fund Grant. Other sources of funding could potentially include Sure
Start, Youth Capital Fund, Community Safety Partnership Grants and Extended
Project management costs will need to be factored into budgets and grant
applications. Officer time, professional fees and administration costs need to be
considered and appropriate sources of funding allocated.
In order to access Big Lottery Funding it is necessary for –
• Local Authorities to draft and approve a holistic play strategy identifying a
portfolio of potential play opportunities.
• Submit a grant application to the Big Lottery Fund - Approval or referral
will be linked to guidelines and funding criteria.
There are two remaining opportunities for applications to be submitted to the Big
Lottery Fund –
• 12th March 2007
• 10th September 2007
Principles of this play strategy
Statement of intent
The Council of the Isles of Scilly recognises the significance and value of play
within the local environment. It is committed to ensuring that all children have
access to rich, stimulating environments, both in and out of doors. These
facilities will be free from unacceptable risk but designed to be challenging and
testing to the user. This policy is based on the understanding that every child
needs opportunities to play both on their own, and just as importantly with others.
The Council of the Isles of Scilly is committed to ensuring that environments,
services and provision for play are attractive, welcoming and accessible to every
child irrespective of age, gender or background.
The Council of the Isles of Scilly is working towards increasing play opportunities
and eliminating barriers which reduce access or inclusion as well as maximising
the advantages of our precious natural environment. The natural environment
constitutes an invaluable resource that presents unparalleled opportunities for
play and development. Ensuring that our surroundings are not overlooked but
utilised and appreciated is critical to the development of any play opportunities.
Setting the scene – What is play?
Play can mean different things to different people – what everyone agrees is that
play is of fundamental importance to children and young people’s health, well
being, relationships, development and learning.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) gives all children the right
to “rest and leisure; to engage in age appropriate play and recreational activities.”
In today’s society, opportunities restricting play are often affected by factors
outside a child’s direct control. The dominance of the car in everyday life, lack of
tolerance for children and young people, lack of access to local open spaces and
fears over personal safety are several reasons which have contributed to a
decline in active play.
Play need not be confined to designated play areas, it can occur in a variety of
locations including the home, the street, playgrounds, beach and even a child’s
mind. Good play does not necessarily always have to come from expensive new
Scilly offers children and young people a diverse natural environment that
presents a wealth of opportunities for exploration, self discovery and unstructured
Play is easy to identify but difficult to describe, the Big Lottery Fund’s definition is-
“What children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and
interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons.”
Positive play opportunities promote good social, mental and emotional health,
giving children and young people the chance to try out and experience a range of
emotions in a “safe” way. It allows them to learn and develop by promoting
resilience and self esteem.
When playing, a child demonstrates independence and imagination. Play allows
children to test themselves and become aware of their physical strengths and
limitations. Play is a social activity that allows for interaction with other children
and adults. The benefits of play extend to the wider community in tackling issues
such as anti-social behaviour, community safety and other community problems.
Play is not just for young children. Groups of young people “hanging around” in
the public domain are often perceived to be posing a threat or being a nuisance,
even when they are simply enjoying being together. This often leads adults in
some communities to be hostile and nervous towards them.
An overview of what play can provide can be determined by using the acronym
• Social development
• Physical development
• Intellectual achievement
• Creative achievement
• Emotional development.
For most children the best thing about play is being with their friends. Play helps
children learn to create good relationships. In pretend games, they can try out
many different roles and experience give and take. In games with rules, they
begin to find out about right and wrong.
From a very early age, children learn and practice how to use their bodies
through play. Physical play helps develop coordination, strength and agility and is
often excellent physical exercise.
Play helps children think and learn. When playing, children are continually setting
problems for themselves and checking whether they have come up with the right
solutions. This is a very good way to learn, and through play children can
increase their understanding of complicated subjects like mathematics.
Through play, children are able to follow their own instincts and ideas without fear
of contradiction or restraint. This helps them to find their own special gifts and
talents and to value their individual creativity.
Children use make-believe play to understand, recognise and deal with their
emotions. In play, they can come to terms with difficult situations by going over
them again and again or by taking on different roles.
Policy and driving forces for change
Facilitating good quality play provision for children and young people is the
responsibility of local authorities in association with their partners. Local
authorities have been presented with a key role in facilitating change.
Responsibilities include -
• Oversee strategic planning
• Facilitate consultation and partnership working
• Support project delivery
• Ensure financial accountability
• Monitor and evaluate performance
• Champion play as a core part of children’s services
Play should not be viewed in isolation and should form part of the overall vision of
a strong, vibrant and sustainable Island Community. This play strategy links into
other corporate documents including;
Two of the five main areas of focus of this strategy are;
- Providing excellent services for children, young people and families.
- Promoting healthy and inclusive communities.
Children and Young People’s Plan
- Participate in and enjoy recreational activities
- Be healthy
Early Years and Youth Services Plans
Extended Schools Strategic Plan
Outcomes of Every Child Matters are closely linked to the benefits of play. The
five outcomes are universal ambitions for every child and young person,
whatever their background or circumstances. Improving outcomes for all children
and young people underpins all objectives and aspirations contained within this
• Being Healthy. Play is crucial to health and development.
• Stay safe. Nationally, one of the main reasons children give for not
playing outside is that they and their parents are concerned about their
• Enjoy and achieve. The very essence of play is enjoyment.
• Make a positive contribution Children’s involvement in the development
of their own play is fundamental. Young people have been involved in the
community consultation linked to this strategy.
• Achieve economic well-being Good play provision enables parents to
work, an example of this are children’s holiday clubs.
With an ever increasing prominence placed on children’s services it is important
to see play as a useful social development tool.
Community aspirations will help direct potential improvements. Children, young
people and parents have already proved what they can collectively achieve on
the Islands. The new children’s playpark on St Mary’s, the Skate Park at Carn
Gwaval and the changing rooms on the Garrison are all facilities that have been
well designed and have been supported or developed by the community to
deliver positive and sustainable outcomes.
To help ensure that community views are included in the planning process, many
authorities are forming “play partnerships.” These groups are being used to
develop strategies and to make recommendations. This function is being done
by the islands’ Community Learning Partnership which is already established and
has a membership that identifies and assesses local need.
The Community through public participation and consultation has had a major
contribution to this play strategy. Views of young people have been sought and
included in this document. The Community Learning Partnership, have received
and assessed the strategy in their role as the ‘play partnership’.
An audit of existing provision and local need has been carried out across each
Island Community and the outcomes are reflected in this plan.
During the audit it was noted that the islands have a disparate and limited range
of play environments. The facilities themselves are often in poor repair and need
significant upgrading. Many of the play opportunities are structured and others
are more informal. It is invariably the role of volunteers and community groups
that maintain and run these provisions.
Examples of existing facilities include -
• Outreach play projects
• Toy Libraries
• Playing Fields
• Skate park
• Youth shelter
• Tennis courts
• Natural areas including beaches.
Providing challenges, managing risk.
It is a sad reality that the increased prominence of health and safety legislation
has diluted some of the play opportunities that today’s generation of children and
young people can experience. It is the job of all those responsible for play to
assess and manage the level of risk, so that children are given the chance to
stretch themselves, test and develop their abilities without being exposed to
unnecessary risk or harm.
The issue of risk and safety in play provision has preoccupied providers for many
years. Statistically, children’s playgrounds are among the safest places to be -
but accidents will happen. Accidents can not be eliminated and it’s recognised
that falls and scrapes in childhood are important aspects of growing up. Children
learn most effectively when they have to overcome boundaries and learn how to
manage risk. Play spaces that offer no risk are often sterile and unstimulating
leading to under use, misuse and abuse.
This is born out locally where evidence indicates that since the opening of the
skate park on St Mary’s the number of hospital admissions for skating injuries
has fallen as more young people enjoy practicing their chosen sport in a safe and
well designed area rather than on pavements and roads.
Sound policies and risk management procedures should provide the right
framework for shaping provision and satisfying the providers concerns.
The correct siting of play and youth facilities provides local challenges, with the
importance of balancing the needs and wishes for play space and facilities often
with those of nearby residents. On a practical basis facilities should be based
where they are accessible and attractive to potential users.
Play provision has to be inclusive. Legislation such as the Disabilities
Discrimination Act places a duty on providers to offer opportunities which are
inclusive and accessible for all children, young people their parent and carers.
Audit of existing provision
The following section outlines a summary of existing local play facilities that in
line reflect with the Big Lottery Funds’ definitions.
Bryher; Population – 78
Existing facilities- Bryher has extremely limited play facilities. There is no
school base and depending on age, children are either educated on Tresco or St
Mary’s. The islands community hall is used for residents’ events and has a
kitchen, pool table and table tennis table.
Bryher residents have access by membership to a small hotel swimming pool.
There is no formal play area for children or young people.
Some pre-school activities are arranged; often parents and children attend
sessions on Tresco.
Planned development- Preliminary discussions are currently taking place with
local residents over the possibility of bidding for Extended Schools funding to
develop community facilities.
St Agnes; Population -83
Existing facilities- St Agnes has basic indoor and outdoor play facilities.
Parents of pre-school children use an area in the Reading Room to meet and
mix. A small stock of toys and games are available. On the opposite side of the
same building a small room houses a snooker table and darts board, this area is
used by the islands older age group. This building lacks running water and toilet
St Ages Island Hall is the largest community space on the island. It’s used for a
variety of functions including school PE sessions. Table Tennis tables are stored
in the area.
A short distance from the Island Hall is an outside area known as the “meadow”.
This grassed field is the location of the islands cricket pitch. A hard surface
cricket wicket is located here. Other sports and games are organised in this
St Agnes School Base is located close to the Reading Room. A grass bank is
available for children to play on during break time. This is an open area with no
Planned development- Planning permission had been granted for a multi use
games area in a field adjacent to the hall. Consideration is being given to making
capital improvements to the hall with better kitchen and storage facilities.
Discussions have taken place with school staff regarding the installation of play
equipment. Funding for this has been approved from the local Sure Start Grant.
Advanced plans are being drawn up to make significant improvements to the
Island Hall. It is anticipated that a bid for funding from the Extended Schools
Grant will be forthcoming from the St Agnes Community to improve and
modernise this valuable facility.
St Martins; Population – 113
Existing facilities- St Martins have a hard surface tennis court which is available
for community use. This facility is approximately 15 years old and has proved to
be an excellent facility.
St Martins Island Hall is over 70 years old and is in need of significant updating.
The room is used for a variety of community activities including parent and
toddler sessions and some limited indoor activities.
St Martin’s School Base is located within a fenced compound where children are
safe to play. A flat area is primarily used for ball sports and a steep bank has
been identified as a suitable location for play equipment.
Planned development- Islanders are raising funds for a replacement building,
Extended Schools funding is being used to support this process.
Tresco; Population – 167
Existing facilities - Located between the Tresco School Base and Community
Centre is a substantial children’s play area. The community centre has a large
hall used for a variety of sports and games and is used for registered childcare as
well as parent and toddler sessions. The community centre is also used as the
pavilion for the cricket pitch which is in the same area.
Planned development- Tresco Estate has been granted planning permission for
an indoor swimming pool which will have some community access.
St Mary’s; Population – 1607
Existing facilities - In 2005 Big Lottery Funding was secured to create a
purpose built children’s play area on the Garrison sports field. This modern
facility filled a large gap for local children; it’s well used and a highly valued asset.
Located on the same field is an area that’s used for a variety of sports and past
times. Football, cricket and hockey are regularly played here and a tarmac tennis
court is situated a short distance away. The community recently raised funds to
build a new changing/storage facility.
St Mary’s has two school bases. The Carn Thomas, secondary school site has
an outside tarmac play surface. This site is surrounded by a high fence and has
basketball hoops installed and is not accessible out of school hours. The school
hall is used for sports and games, despite being undersized.
The Primary School at Carn Gwaval has a choice of grass or tarmac to play on.
Basketball hoops and goals are available. A skate park is located on an area of
the school playing field.
St Mary’s has a network of facilities for the care and education of children. Two
holiday clubs regularly take place managed by experienced and qualified staff.
The islands have an excellent toy library and there are frequent parent and
Outreach play services across the islands have developed since the council
appointed a Family Support Officer. Regular structured sessions targeting pre-
school children now take place in island community halls.
Voluntary providers run after-school activities that engage children and young
people in positive recreational activities. However, these after-school clubs suffer
from a lack of facilities and the lack of access to some sites out of school hours.
An outdoor community swimming pool is available for use during the summer
months. Swimming pools are not included in the list of potential Big Lottery Fund
Planned development- The Local Plan has an area set aside for the potential
development of a sports and recreational facilities including sports hall with all
weather and grass playing surfaces in the vicinity of the Carn Gwaval Site.
Identified Needs / Development Targets
Formalising priorities will help focus how resources are directed in the future.
The following 4 targets set out the main aspirations of this plan.
Creation of a multi use games area on St Mary’s. These facilities are suitable for
a variety of sports and games.
Aim- To ensure strong links with the school, provide educational and health
benefits and to provide inclusive access to play facilities.
Key Beneficiaries – All children and wider community.
Provision of multi use games walls, play equipment or sports infrastructure.
Aim - Work towards every island having its own designated outdoor children’s
Key Beneficiaries – All children and wider community use
Support in developing provision by investing in infrastructure and equipment.
Aim – Continued support of existing providers of play facilities include the toy
and resource library, holiday play schemes and registered childcare.
Key Beneficiaries – All children, parents and carers
To provide training opportunities promoting creative play.
Aim - Training will provide practitioners with greater knowledge and
understanding on the values achieved through good play provision.
Key Beneficiaries – Child care providers and children.
Summary of potential targets
Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs)
Consultation has identified a desire to have a Multi Use Games Area on St
Mary’s. Planning permission has already been granted for a facility on St Agnes
and MUGAs marked out for tennis already exist on Tresco and St Martins.
MUGAs constitute an important part of the Sport England Regional Plan.
Published in 2004, the plan suggests that “all communities with a population over
1000 should benefit from such provision – this is the sort of size that should
normally be able to justify and sustain a MUGA, but which is often too small to
warrant multi-sports facilities, such as a sports hall.”
Comprehensive guidelines covering design specifications and templates for
contracts have been produce by Sport England and if selected will help to form
the procurement process.
MUGAs differ from most other forms of informal sports provision in that they are
normally constructed to a recognised specification. Different surfaces offer
advantages and disadvantages to particular sports, A standard “one court” sized
MUGA (37m * 18m) can accommodate sports such as tennis, netball, basket ball,
hockey and 5 a side football. A variety of surfaces are available, including
tarmac, acrylic, textured rubber or artificial turf.
Independent technical expertise can be accessed through Sport England or
national governing bodies such as the Football Association.
In the Local Plan an area in the vicinity of Carn Gwaval has been identified as a
site suitable for the development of sport and recreation including a MUGA. An
alternative location could be the Garrison Field.
Approximate costs for installing a standard “one court” sized MUGA are
estimated to be £100,000 depending on specifications of security fencing and line
markings. This facility should have a minimum life span in excess of 10 years
and require minimal site management. On going costs could be off set against
income generated from the hire of the facility.
St Agnes has already received planning permission for a MUGA. A site has been
secured adjacent to the Island Hall. Fundraising for the project, estimated to cost
in the region of £45,000 is being undertaken. This facility will be used by the
community and offer the school a purpose built play facility that can be used
during PE lessons. When completed this facility will provide children and young
people with a safe and accessible play area during and out of school hours.
These facilities are very popular, they are a cost effective way of providing for a
variety of activities including football, tennis, cricket and basketball. They often
function as a basic rebound facilities with football goals, cricket stumps or targets
marked on them.
They would be particularly beneficial to our small off island communities where
individual children can use them to bounce balls against by themselves or with a
few friends. They are very cost effective with little on going costs.
Proposed Action Plan for Project Delivery 2007-2010
Objective Action Officer Funding Monitoring review
Raise public awareness Reports presented to Lead Officer for Early Years/Youth Reports presented to Council Members
of lottery allocation. Council. Early Years Funding and Community Learning Partnership
Publicity documents Spring 06
Article published in Cornishman
Examine staffing of Approval for
project. appointment of Play
Facilities Officer to Play Facilities Officer position advertised
Commence work on manage the project Summer 06
play strategy. secured Appointment made October 06
Undertake community Audit existing play Play Facilities Early Years/Youth Face to face interviews and meeting with
consultation and provision across the Officer Funding children and young people undertaken
evaluate responses. islands. November 2006
Identify gaps in Identify existing Play Facilities Early Years/Youth Identify and visit potential locations for play
provision measured facilities. Officer Funding facilities on St Martin’s, St Agnes and
against Big Lottery Bryher - August 2006
Funding guidelines. Make contact with
Seek expert technical technical experts.
advice to assess Site visit by technical expert to potential
feasibility of potential Hold preliminary locations of Multi Use Games Areas
projects. discussions with undertaken on St Agnes and St Mary’s in
school regarding use November 06
of Carn Gwaval Field
Seek approval of Play Play strategy to be Lead Officer for No costs Strategy satisfying Big Lottery Fund
Strategy from Children completed and Early Years requirements presented for approval in
and Young People presented to January 07
Committee with committee.
proceed with one single
Seek funding for Work with local Extended Early Potential projects identified and action
communities to asses
alternative priority areas Schools Officer Years/Extended plans created.
identified. feasibility of developing Schools
Seek agreement Complete and submit Play Facilities No costs Deadlines for applications on
obtained from Big application to Big Officer 12-3-07 or 10-9-07
Lottery Fund for funds Lottery Fund for Aiming for March 07 – Decision due 3
to secure identified approval of months after submission.
project. recommended project.
Commence planning, Work with Stride Play Facilities Early Years and In depth report with accurate costings to be
design and procurement Treglown to oversee Officer Youth Funding presented to members. Details of ongoing
process. Secure use of process. maintenance, project management and life
land. span of project to be included. Sep 07
Source independent Work with Sport Play Facilities Early Years and Agreement for use of land achieved.
advice, quotes, England and Cornwall Officer Youth Funding Planning permission for land is agreed.
timescale etc. Sports Partnership to Quotes that align with agreed budget in
ensure specifications place. Jan 07
Start build of approved Award contract Process to be Big Lottery Fund Play facility created on budget and within
project. managed by Grant time scale. Significant outcomes for
Stride Treglown community achieved. Aug 08
Monitor and support Continue to monitor Change for Extended Regular reports to be presented to
other projects relevant and evaluate Children School/Early Children and Young People Committee.
to plan. Advisory Group Years Funding
CONTACTS and FURTHER INFORMATION
Extended Schools Officer
Early Years Office
Isles of Scilly
For further information on the Council of the Isles of Scilly please contact the Town Hall on 01720 422537 or email
Other information including the Community Strategy and Children and Young People’s Plan can be viewed at
For specific information about play please visit