Solihull Play Strategy

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					Solihull Play Strategy 2006   1
                                                  Table of contents
            Section                                                                       Page
          1.                 Introduction
          1.1                Purpose & scope                                               2
          1.2                Outline of content                                            2
          1.3                Definition of play                                            3

          2.                 The Case for Play
          2.1                Value & significance of play for children and young people    3
          2.2                Contribution play makes to wider agenda                       4

          3.                 Context
          3.1                Play in local, regional & national contexts                   5
          3.2                Profile of Solihull                                           5
          3.3                Relevant local & national policy & strategy                   6

          4.                 Review of Community Engagement
          4.1                Approach                                                      8
          4.2                Findings and conclusions                                      9

          5.                 Local Provision Examined
          5.1                Audit methodology                                              9
          5.2                Audit findings                                                10
          5.3                Analysis of provision relative to needs and population        11
          5.4                Management arrangements                                       11

          6.                 Play Statement
          6.1                Play assumptions                                              11
          6.2                Play principles and values                                    12
          6.3                Links with wider strategic documents                          14

          7.                 Local Standards
          7.1                Explanation of standards proposed                             14
          7.2                Quality assurance                                             14
          7.3                Risk management                                               15
          7.4                Workforce development                                         15

          8.                 Action Plan
          8.1                Criteria for identifying priorities for development           16
          8.2                Play settings                                                 23
          8.3                Play development                                              23
          8.4                Timelines                                                     23
          8.5                Resources and sustainability                                  24
          8.6                Monitoring                                                    24
          8.7                Children and young people’s involvement                       25

          9.                 Evaluation Plan
          9.1                Outcomes and indicators                                       25
          9.2                Review                                                        25

          10.                References
                             Appendix A: Stakeholder List                                  28
                             Appendix B: References                                        29
                             Appendix C: Play Consultation Findings                        30



          Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                            2
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                               Page 1
        1 Introduction
        During consultations with children, young people and families as part of the Local
        Preventative Strategy, the lack of “somewhere safe to go and something to do” was a
        consistent theme.

        Societal changes have meant that many children have less access to play and
        recreational opportunities than ever before, yet evidence shows that quality play
        experiences are vital to a child’s development. Locally, need was expressed for access
        to the widest possible range of play opportunities in order to build confidence, raise self-
        esteem and develop new skills.

        The Every Child Matters Outcomes framework clearly identifies a role for play and
        recreation across all five outcomes for children and young people. Local authorities will
        be inspected on the contributions of services to children’s wellbeing and achievement, to
        reducing social exclusion, reducing crime and health inequalities, and increased
        involvement in decisions that affect them.

        In Solihull, a commitment was made as part of the development of the Local
        Preventative Strategy to make more play/leisure opportunities and experiences available
        for children of all ages, particularly children and young people aged 8 and over.

        1.1 Purpose & scope

        This Strategy is a direct outcome of the Local Preventative Strategy consultation, and
        was developed in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders (see Appendix A).

        The vision, as reflected in both the Community Strategy and the Children and Young
        People’s Plan is that Solihull is a place where well being, pride and quality of life are
        enjoyed by all, a place where we value children, young people and family life and create
        a brighter future for our children and young people.

        The views of children and young people have been key to the development of the
        strategy and action plan, and the portfolio of projects that will form the basis of the
        investment from the Big Lottery and other funding streams.

        Though the sSrategy addresses play opportunities for children and young people up to
        the age of 19, the main focus of the strategy is to develop increased opportunities for
        free open access play opportunities for 8-13 year olds.

        1.2 Outline of content

        The Strategy aims to provide a framework for the development of play provision in
        Solihull from a fairly traditional base, mainly provided through fixed play equipment, and
        through holiday playschemes provided on a fee basis to working parents.

        It has been informed by a wide rage of research and local consultation, and builds on
        the audit of current provision. The Strategy links to numerous other plans and
        strategies, and includes an action plan for future priorities.

        There are a number of benefits identified for Solihull in having a written Play Policy and
        Strategy, to:




        Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                               3
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                 Page 2
       •    Ensure that quality play opportunities are viewed as a right for all children and young
            people and regarded as an essential part of healthy development.

       •    Raise the profile of play in Solihull.

       •    Acknowledge that all partners at a strategic level value play.

       •    Be a useful document to link current strategies and services in a common
            framework.

       •    Help map current provision, and the range of agencies involved, but also identify
            gaps.

       •    Ensure a common understanding across Solihull about what play is.

       •    Give a focus to community engagement with genuine involvement of children and
            young people.

       •    Help to prioritise play development, particularly that requiring investment, in order to
            be ready for funding opportunities as they arise.


       1.3 Definition of play

       Solihull has adopted the Children’s Play Council’s definition of play, as one which is
       widely accepted in the playwork field.

       “Play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrinsically motivated behaviour that
       actively engages the child” (Children’s Play Council – Best Play 2000)

       At a seminar for stakeholders on play in Solihull in April 2005, the following statements
       were put forward to add to this definition: -

       •    Play should be local, assessable, safe and self determined.
       •    Play is what children do when not being told what to do by adults.
       •    Play is about freedom of choice, about fun and about friends.
       •    Play is instinctive in all of us, and individual.

       A range of other reports and documents have also been used to inform this strategy,
       and in particular, “Best Play – What play Provision Should do for Children “ (Appendix B)


       2 The Case for Play
       2.1 Value & significance of play for children and young people

       Solihull has incorporated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
       Article 31, ratified by the UK government in 1991, which recognises:

                      o    the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational
                           activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in
                           cultural life and the arts.




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                     4
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                      Page 3
                      o    The right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and
                           shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for
                           cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities.


       Play services in Solihull will promote the participation of all children and young people by
       adopting the Solihull Children’s Trust Active Involvement Standards. These standards
       are a local adaptation of the national Hear By Rights Standards, devised by the National
       Youth Agency, to accommodate children and young people of all ages.

       2.2 Contribution play makes to wider agenda

       In October 2002, the Government commissioned a review of play, following an
       announcement in June 2001 of New Opportunities Funding / The Big Lottery Fund of
       £155 million strategic funding for children’s play in England, to improve play
       opportunities for children and young people ages 0-16 from 2005/6 [Getting Serious
       About Play: a review of Children’s Play DCMS 2004]

       For the purpose of the review, play meant what children and young people do when
       they follow their own ideas and interest, in their own way, and for their own
       reasons.

       The review highlights concerns from parents that today’s children have fewer
       opportunities for play than they did themselves. While wanting children to get more
       physical exercise, parents are concerned about the safety of their children and are
       reluctant to let them out of the house, citing fear of strangers and traffic as their main
       concerns. Children and young people are also concerned about their safety, and their
       main safety concerns are about bullying and traffic (Audit Commission/Mori Survey
       2001).

       The growing fear of litigation is also leaving play providers concerned to minimise the
       chances of accidents, resulting in more play facilities which offer no challenge and
       contribute little to child development, leaving some children to seek excitement in more
       dangerous or anti social activities.

       The review also acknowledges that for many years, play provision has been given a low
       priority, mainly due to lack of resources as local authorities concentrate attention and
       resources on statutory services. Like many local authorities Solihull did not have a
       comprehensive local Play Strategy, and the focus has been almost exclusively on the
       installation of standard fixed play equipment.

       The last few years have seen a growing recognition of the need for more play
       opportunities for children, and play is a key feature of both the Sure Start and the
       Children’s Fund programmes. Play is also covered by the national standard for
       childcare for children under 8, and reflected in the provision offered by childminders,
       group based care for under fives, and in before and after school clubs and holiday
       playschemes across the Borough.




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                         5
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                         Page 4
       3 Context
       3.1 Play in local, regional & national contexts

       The role of play across all five Every Child Matters Outcomes, as outlined in the
       Children Act 2004, is widely acknowledged. There are clear links to children’s health and
       emotional well being, with growing evidence that unstructured play is an effective way
       for children to engage in physical activity, and to practice making and consolidating
       friendships and to deal with conflicts. Good play provision gives children opportunities to
       challenge themselves and develop self-reliance, encouraging risk taking in a way that
       develops self-confidence. Play also promotes a strong sense of achievement, and is
       vital to the development of the imagination. Good, supervised play provision also
       promotes community wellbeing and cohesion.

       Solihull Children and Young People’s Plan 2006-2009 is the overarching plan for all
       associated policy and strategy relating to children and young people. It presents a
       shared vision with all our Children’s Trust partners, including the Primary Care Trust and
       the voluntary sector, that Solihull will be a place where well being, pride and quality of
       life are enjoyed by all, a place where we value children young people and family life and
       create a brighter future for our children and young people.

       3.2 Profile of Solihull

       Solihull is an excellent place to live and work, and people are proud to live here. There
       are good economic prospects; green spaces and children enjoy good schools and
       colleges. Residents enjoy good health and relatively low crime rates compared to
       neighbouring areas, but not everyone enjoys these benefits.

       The three wards in the north of the Borough (Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge
       and Smith’s Wood) have a very different social and economic context and are within the
       top 10% most deprived wards in the country. Residents in the north of the Borough tend
       to be younger than those in the south, but have poorer prospects in terms of educational
       attainment, employment opportunities, health and life expectancy.

       It is important to acknowledge that there are also pockets of deprivation in other areas of
       Solihull, for example the rural fringe has concerns such as limited local employment
       opportunities, limited public transport and limited public services.

       In Solihull, the 2001 census indicates that there are 51,356 children and young people
       aged 0-19 years, just under a quarter of the total population.

       Table 1: Solihull Children Population Projections (source Solihull Census)

       Age group       1996          2001                                  2006
                                     11,800 = 4% decrease on 1996          11,200 = 9% decrease on 1996
       0-4 yrs         12300
                                     figure                                figure
                                     13,000 = 4.5% decrease on 1996
       5-9 yrs         13600                                               12500 = 8% decrease on 1996 figure
                                     figure
                                     14,100 = 0.7% increase on 1996
       10-14yrs        13100                                               13500 = 3% increase on 1996 figure
                                     figure.
                                                                           13,000 = 12% increase on 1996
       15-19yrs        11600         12,200 = 5% increase on 1996 figure
                                                                           figure




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                              6
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                              Page 5
       Table 2: The population distribution in relation to ward corresponds with these
       projections.




       3.3 Relevant local & national policy & strategy

       For the population of Solihull, a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy childhood to
       prevent ill health and disease in later life. A healthy lifestyle includes good childhood
       nutrition commenced at birth, and this is supported through the three Phase 1
       Children’s Centres and will be adopted by the eight centres being developed in Phase
       2. Solihull is also exceeding its target for schools achieving Healthy School status,
       which is a partnership between schools and health to promote a healthy lifestyle,
       including both physical and emotional health.

       In combination with good nutrition, physical activity directly influences health. Physical
       activity provides an important vehicle for play and recreation, learning physical and
       social skills, developing creative intelligence and stimulating growth and fitness. In
       Solihull, children enjoy physical activity but active participation decreases with age,
       particularly amongst girls. The Physical Activity Strategy for Solihull has an emphasis
       on reducing health inequalities, bringing together all the key stakeholders in the local
       authority and in health, as a framework for joint targets and joint approaches around
       increasing physical activity, improving health and preventing obesity.

       Solihull has a Play Area Strategy 2003 - 13, which aims to deliver a more even
       distribution of play areas across Solihull, to meet the needs of children and young
       people living in and visiting Solihull. The vision is “to create play areas in Solihull that are
       welcoming, safe, attractive, accessible and meet the needs of children and young
       people in a balanced and fair way across the Borough.” A stated aim is also to support
       the Crime and Disorder Strategy and the Regeneration of North Solihull. The audit of
       play areas identified 32 sites with children’s play equipment, most of which have evolved
       over time, in parks recreation grounds and larger areas of open space. The play



       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                   7
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                    Page 6
       equipment caters mainly for those under 13 years old. While this is a comprehensive
       strategy about play areas, it does not address wider issues about play, and was put
       together before Every Child Matters was published.

       Solihull is currently in the initial stages of a large regeneration project in the northern
       wards which will impact housing, schools and open spaces. An early commitment to
       develop more outdoor play and sports facilities in local areas is documented in the
       North Solihull Strategic Framework 2005. Attention has been paid to play spaces in
       the recent Home Zone scheme in Fordbridge, which will be stepping stone to future
       collaborative working between Regeneration, Housing and play providers. Solihull
       Community Housing support a child’s right to play within their own gardens and
       neighbourhood and actively work with local partners to maintain public play spaces.

       As part of the Green Spaces Strategy 2005, Solihull aims to provide attractive, high
       quality accessible green spaces that are managed and developed to meet the diverse
       needs of the community. The strategy process included a detailed audit of existing
       green spaces, their features and facilities, and consultation with stakeholders. Priorities
       for action included additional locally equipped areas for play, new provision for
       teenagers including positive activities programmes and additional provision of Multi Use
       Games Areas (MUGA) sites. Close work with local schools was also identified as a
       priority, particularly the securing of community use and the development of school club
       links.

       The Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire in Solihull found that bullying was
       frequently cited as a problem and peaked in year 6. Recent developments have also
       drawn attention to the anti-bullying needs in secondary school but we may only be
       touching the surface level of bullying as unfortunately most victims suffer in silence.
       Although most bullying typically takes place around the school day, in Solihull concerns
       were raised about feeling unsafe in the presence of groups, particularly where there was
       not a strong staff presence to monitor behaviour, for example, gangs in parks. A strategy
       to address issues of bullying is currently in development.

       Education is an important universal service for all children, young people and their
       families. On the whole, Solihull schools achieve excellent results. Consequently schools
       play a key part in delivering services for children and young people, with their role in the
       achievement, prevention and protection agenda being crucial to ensuring that every
       child matters. This will require combining effective school improvement with the
       integration of universal services and the development of extended schools, where play
       provision will be vital.

       This will be particularly the case for young people living within the rural fringe of Solihull
       who may face issues such as having limited leisure and recreational facilities which
       potentially can be a factor in high drug use. Informal education can be beneficial in
       promoting personal and social development, and is a key feature of detached youth
       work in the Borough.

       Access to wider social, cultural, leisure, play and learning opportunities are recognised
       as a universal entitlement for all children, young people and their families in Solihull.
       Local cultural facilities such as libraries, sports and leisure centres, theatres, parks and
       community spaces provide a wide range of informal activities and resources are
       accessed by all ages. These services are found to offer choice, freedom of expression
       and support self-directed learning in ways that relate to the needs of local communities.
       Clear links have been established with the play agenda and The Strategy for the Arts
       in Solihull 2005-2010, to broaden the range of opportunities available for children and
       young people.


       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                 8
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 7
       Work has been developed around a Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and
       Young People, which gives consideration to issues about play, including the need for
       more inclusive play opportunities. It also raises important questions about the need to
       develop the workforce for the successful provision of play opportunities for children and
       young people with additional needs.

       In Solihull around 10% of children are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. A
       significant BME group is Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), particularly
       since 2002 as the Immigration Service regional Headquarters is based in the Borough.
       Young people who are applying for asylum here and have no "prior link" with another
       area in the UK are referred to Education and Children's Services as part of Solihull's
       responsibility to assess needs and provide services for Children In Need in the area.
       This presents particular challenges for Solihull in planning to meet the needs of a
       diverse group of young people.

       Solihull is a good place to live, work and visit, but locally residents are worried about
       crime and anti-social behaviour. Youth crime harms communities, creates a culture of
       fear and damages the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people. The Police
       and Solihull MBC have set targets to reduce crime, the fear of crime, anti-social
       behaviour and domestic violence. The need for diversionary activities away from
       offending is clearly stated in the Crime and Disorder Strategy (2005-08) and presents
       a opportunity to develop play.

       At the heart of this are Solihull’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) and the Youth Inclusion
       Support Panel (YISP). YOT and YISP are multi-agency teams comprising the police,
       probation services, education and children’s services, health and substance misuse
       working in a holistic way to reduce school exclusions, tackling anti social behaviour and
       supporting behaviour improvement, factors in the lives of young people that may be
       related to offending. Both YOT & YISP have key roles in identifying those young people
       most at risk of drifting into criminality and in delivering targeted youth crime prevention
       programmes and diversionary activities in partnership with relevant agencies including
       Sports Development and the Youth Service, as part of the Crime Reduction Delivery
       Group.




       4 Review of Community Engagement
       4.1     Approach

       Community engagement is fundamental to the delivery of effective play services and is
       actively supported by the Play Strategy Group. The concept and implementation of
       participation / active involvement principles are promoted by all play partners. Support
       is available to agencies to develop community engagement practice through the
       Children’s Fund and the local authority Children’s Champion. As the Children’s Trust
       develops standards for active involvement, all statutory, voluntary and independent
       partners will be encouraged to develop their own practice.

       Regarding the Play Strategy, engagement of children, young people and families has
       been developed over the past 3 years with programme like Sure Start and Children’s
       Fund providing the impetus for programmes to more equally and proactively involve
       service users. A range of agencies have been actively consulting children, young people
       and families about recreation and other issues through which community views about


       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                              9
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                               Page 8
       play has been. These documents were reviewed by a desk-top exercise. (see appendix
       C). In particular, the Play Out Consultation (Extended Schools) from October 2005 until
       spring 2006, enabled groups of children and young people to think and talk about play
       opportunities in local area. The findings of this report will be used to inform future
       outdoor, park provision and allocation of grant funding. Engagement with commonly
       excluded groups has been possible through good voluntary sector links. In particular,
       the views of children with disabilities and additional needs and traveller children have
       been heard.

       4.2 Findings and conclusions

       Consultation findings from a range of agencies into what children, young people and
       families thought about existing play opportunities and their future wishes were reviewed
       (appendix C). Overall, approximately 970 individuals were consulted. In particular, the
       following documents have provided very pertinent information for shaping play provision:
       Wish Box (Solihull Children’s Information Service 2004) Safer Stuff (Solihull Children’s
       Fund 2004), Playing Out (Extended Schools 2005) and the Regeneration Fun Day
       (Solihull Children’s Fund 2006).

       It has been found that there is alot of concern about safe play in parks and open spaces
       and a need for more interesting play equipment that has diminished their use. To
       address this, many Solihull residents have suggested that more varied play equipment
       be installed and safety be improved via increased police or warden presence. The need
       for a greater variety of outdoor provision that engages children and young people,
       particularly those aged 8 - 13 years has been identified. A gap in play provision that
       delivers the to 3 Frees Principle was also highlighted as most current activity is
       structured and required pre-registration and / or payment.


       5 Local Provision Examined

       5.1     Audit methodology

       The need to develop better play and leisure opportunities in Solihull arose from
       consultation for the Local Preventative Strategy in 2003 and has gathered momentum
       through subsequent consultations.

       Solihull Local Strategic Partnership published The State of the Borough in May 2005, as
       an update of its Community Strategy, and identified the following in terms of public
       facilities for children, families and young people; 34 play pitches, a rugby pitch, a cricket
       pitch, seven skate parks, 32 play areas, the Arts Complex and 13 libraries all with free
       access to ICT and the Internet.

       An audit of local play provision was carried out in March ’06 by members of the Play
       Strategy Group to determine what opportunities are available in relation to the 3 Free
       Principle (free of cost, free to come and go, free to choose activity). This larger audit
       drew upon existing audit information held by partner agencies. The following documents
       were particularly useful: Play Area Strategy (SMBC Parks & Leisure 2003-2013);
       Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and Young People (Solihull MBC 2005);
       Children’s Information Services Database (SMBC); Physical Activity Strategy (Solihull
       Primary Care Trust 2005); Green Spaces Strategy (SMBC 2005); Arts Plan Solihull
       (SMBC 2004) and Children’s Voluntary Sector Forum.




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                               10
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                 Page 9
       It has been recognised that a more detailed and updated audit of play opportunities that
       encompasses all settings and potential users is required in the future. This need will be
       taken to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership and other local authority
       bodies to determine a way forward.


       5.2        Audit findings

       It was found that Solihull has a wide range of subsidised and fee paying organised sport,
       dance and arts activity. Many private and independent providers offer fee paying
       playschemes in school holidays, although these are often linked to childcare
       arrangements. There is a range of voluntary uniform and church groups who offer
       activity opportunities across the Borough. Extended Schools within north Solihull began
       to develop after school, free play opportunities via Junior Youth Clubs in early 2005.
       The Children’s Fund has funded playwork for disabled children and traveller children,
       open air arts work and provided free summer playschemes. The local Sure Start
       programme and later Children’s Centres offer some limited play opportunities for
       families. The following tables summarise the available information about play and
       activity opportunities across the borough.

       Table 3: Summary of Solihull Play and Activity Opportunities (at March 2006)

       Activity                              Number of providers
       Performing Arts                       21
       Structured Play                       51
       Sports                                58
       Uniform & Church Groups               119

       Table 4: Summary of Solihull Park and Open Space Play Spaces (at March 2006)

                                                               New                     DDA         DDA
                                                               Play         Play      Access      Access
        Number                Site Name               Category Value       Rating       %          Level
              1     Babbs Mill                          NEAP       43%   3 - Medium    77%     2 High
              2     Barn Lane Recreation Ground         NEAP       32%   2 - Low       73%     2 High
              3     Beechcroft Open Space               NEAP       27%   2 - Low       66%     2 High
              4     Bentley Heath Recreation Ground     LEAP       55%   3 - Medium    93%     1 Very High
              5     Bentley Heath Youth Area          Youth Area   72%   4 - High      91%     1 Very High
              6     Bluebell Recreation Ground          NEAP       43%   3 - Medium    74%     2 High
              7     Bluebell Skate Park               Youth Area   61%   4 - High      84%     1 Very High
              8     Brookside Recreation Ground         LEAP       31%   2 - Low       74%     2 High
              9     Burtons Farm                        NEAP       51%   3 - Medium    78%     2 High
             10     Burtons Farm Youth Area           Youth Area   72%   4 - High      99%     1 Very High
             11     Chapelhouse Recreation Ground       NEAP       32%   2 - Low       82%     1 Very High
             12     Cole Bank Park                      LEAP       26%   2 - Low       66%     2 High
             13     Colebrook Recreation Ground         LEAP       32%   2 - Low       86%     1 Very High
             14     Dickens Heath                       LEAP       38%   2 - Low       76%     2 High
             15     Dorridge Park                       LEAP       30%   2 - Low       67%     2 High
             16     Elmdon Coppice                      LEAP       32%   2 - Low       72%     2 High
             17     Elmdon Heath Recreation Ground      LEAP       32%   2 - Low       78%     2 High
             18     Elmdon Park                         LEAP       36%   2 - Low       69%     2 High
             19     Forth Drive                         NEAP       30%   2 - Low       61%     3 Medium
             20     Hanbury Recreation Ground           LEAP       37%   2 - Low       81%     2 High
             21     Hermitage Road                      LEAP       32%   2 - Low       71%     2 High
             22     Hillfield Park                      NEAP       32%   2 - Low       75%     2 High
             23     Job Close Park                      LEAP       44%   3 - Medium    82%     1 Very High
             24     Kingshurst Park                     LEAP       31%   2 - Low       60%     3 Medium




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                           11
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                            Page 10
             25     Lanchester Park              NEAP       28%   2 - Low      59%   3 Medium
             26     Lavender Hall Park           NEAP       47%   3 - Medium   79%   2 High
             27     Lavender Hall Skate Park   Youth Area   53%   3 - Medium   85%   1 Very High
             28     Malvern Park                 NEAP       40%   2 - Low      73%   2 High
             29     Marston Green                NEAP       41%   3 - Medium   89%   1 Very High
             30     Meriden Park                 NEAP       39%   2 - Low      63%   2 High
             31     Meriden Skate Park         Youth Area   50%   3 - Medium   89%   1 Very High
             32     Mull Croft                   LEAP       36%   2 - Low      56%   3 Medium
             33     Olton Jubilee Park           NEAP       40%   2 - Low      71%   2 High
             34     Palmers Rough                LEAP       43%   3 - Medium   75%   2 High
             35     Shirley Park                 NEAP       53%   3 - Medium   82%   1 Very High
             36     Shirley Park Youth Area    Youth Area   66%   4 - High     86%   1 Very High
             37     Tudor Grange Park            NEAP       41%   3 - Medium   84%   1 Very High
             38     Tudor Grange Skate Park    Youth Area   44%   3 - Medium   75%   2 High
             39     Wells Walk                    LAP       45%   3 - Medium   90%   1 Very High



       5.3        Analysis of provision relative to needs and population

       The audit demonstrates that there is a few unstructured, free play opportunities in
       Solihull as most provision is organised around specific art and sport activities or by
       uniform groups. Most provision is provided by the voluntary and faith sectors who
       therefore have an important role shaping future services. Sport activities are only
       available to children over 8 years and attendance begins to decrease after 10 years.
       This analysis corresponds well to the community engagement findings.


       5.4        Management arrangements

       Local provision is managed by a range of agencies, according the provider of the
       service. These include the voluntary, independent and private sectors, Education and
       Children’s Service Directorate and Community Services Directorate of the local
       authority. The Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership is the forum for all
       these agencies to determine common practice and future service delivery.


       6 Play Statement
       6.1 Play assumptions

       Solihull has adopted a set of assumptions about play based on those within Best Play,
       as these encompass evidence based research widely adopted by the play work sector.
       In particular these help to present a set of statements which help to create a shared
       understanding of what play is. The following extracts are cited to emphasis the local
       commitment to these statements.

       ♦ Play is also described as follows: "Play can be fun or serious. Through play children
         explore social, material and imaginary worlds and their relationship with them,
         elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to the challenges they
         encounter. By playing, children learn and develop as individuals, and as members of
         the community.

       ♦ The impulse to play comes from within the child, and is intentional only in the sense
         of being about what interests children themselves. This is the freedom which play
         allows for children when the interests of others, especially those of the adult world,


       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                 12
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 11
            recede into the background. The intrinsic motivation of play, the fact that for children
            play does not involve the pursuit of any external goal or reward raises challenges
            when defining objectives for play provision, and especially when confronting the
            issues of assessment and evaluation.

       ♦ Play often, though not always, implies a sense of fun for the child. But it can also be
         serious, in two senses. The child may feel serious while playing, and/or the content
         of the play may be serious, that is, not trivial or light-hearted. Much free play is
         reflective. Play is as much in the approach as in the activity - a way of doing anything
         or nothing.

       ♦ "The main characteristic of play - child or adult - is not its content, but its mode. Play
         is an approach to action, not a form of activity". Jerome Bruner, quoted in Moyles
         (1989)

       ♦ Exploration is an important aspect of play, although it is not invariably present. A
         child at play is often exploring, that is, testing out all kinds of assumptions and
         theories about themselves, other people and the world. The child then responds to
         the feedback gained by adjusting or confirming those assumptions and theories. It is
         a process involving curiosity and creativity.

       ♦ "Play has been described as scientific research conducted by children". Hughes
         (1996 and 1968) paraphrasing Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1970).

       ♦ There is growing awareness of the complexity of the interaction between children
         and playworkers, which depends on the worker's capacity to observe and respond to
         play cues, so that play is extended without being distorted. A play cue is a request
         for play or stimulation to the external world. This play cue decays over time, but if it
         receives a response, the return from that interaction further stimulates the playing
         mind, possibly resulting in more play cues being delivered, so continuing the play
         cycle (Else and Sturrock 1998).

       ♦ Play is important to the child in providing an arena for behaviour that is not
         overwhelmingly dominated by adult views and values. It is an important part of the
         experience, which may look like mistakes or bad behaviour from other points of view,
         from which children learn the appropriate behaviours for their own adulthood. Some
         boundaries are required, but these need to be skilfully drawn and applied if the
         benefits of play for the child are not to be eroded.


       6.2 Play principles and values

       Playworkers have developed a set of values and principles about children and play,
       based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and on understandings about
       play, which are stated clearly in Best Play. Solihull has adopted the following:

       ♦ Children’s Views
       Children are "active in the construction and determination of their own social lives".
       (Prout and James 1997). This has implications for playwork and for the development of
       better play provision. The voice of the child, their opinions and reactions, should be
       taken into account to the maximum degree consistent with health, safety and respect for
       the needs of others.




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                               13
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                 Page 12
       ♦ Access to rich, stimulating environments
       There is a poverty of play opportunities in the general environment, and it is the
       responsibility of the community to ensure that all children have access to rich,
       stimulating environments that are free from unacceptable risk, and thereby offer children
       the opportunity to explore both themselves and the world, through their freely chosen
       play.

       ♦ Freedom to play
       Children's freedom to play, and children's sense of freedom, needs to be preserved.
       Many pressures increasingly dominate the lives of children in the UK. Public fears about
       safety, including the threat from traffic and from other people, lead many parents to
       restrict their children's freedom to play and get around on their own. Commercial
       interests intrude into children's lives through targeted marketing and advertising
       campaigns. Religious and cultural organisations believe that theirs is the right mould
       with which to shape children. Educational policies and practice take a curriculum-
       centred approach that places increasing demands on children's time and energies in
       pursuit of educational attainment, and constrains their free time.

       ♦   Equal Entitlement
       Every child, irrespective of gender, background, cultural or racial origin or individual
       ability should have equal access to good play opportunities.

       ♦ Respect for Children
       Children should feel confident that the adults involved in play welcome and value them
       as individuals.

       ♦ Children’s Abilities
       The child’s control of their own play activity is a crucial factor in enriching their
       experience and enhancing their learning and development. Adults need to recognise
       that play is something children do very well on their own.

       ♦ Play for its own sake
       As the definition states, play is intrinsically motivated. Hence there should be no task or
       product required of the play by those not engaged in it. However, adults may need to
       support children in creating and determining their own goals and outcomes.

       ♦ The importance of risk
       Play is a key element in children learning to appreciate, assess and take calculated
       risks, which is fundamental to the development of confidence and abilities in childhood.
       Children seek out opportunities for risk taking and it is the responsibility of play provision
       to respond with exciting and stimulating environments that balance risks appropriately.

       ♦ The adult role in play
       Whereas children may play without encouragement or help, adults can significantly
       enhance the opportunities for a child to play creatively through the provision of an
       appropriate human and physical environment.

       ♦ Adult responsiveness
       Children can sometimes unleash powerful feelings, in themselves or in their companions
       through their play. The process often has valuable cathartic or therapeutic effects but
       can also be disturbing. Children are entitled to expect that adults involved in play
       provision will understand and be responsive to cues that they may be in need of comfort
       or reassurance as a result of their play.




       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                14
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 13
       6.3 Links with wider strategic documents
       In Solihull, play is valued as a key component to all of the 5 Every Child Matters
       outcomes and the sixth local outcome of access to services promoted by the Children’s
       Trust. The links between play and wider strategy is detailed in section 3.3.


        7 Local Standards

       7.1 Explanation of standards proposed

       Current play provision works towards a range of standards determined by the service
       provider and legislation they operate within. This includes OfSTED and ISO. The Play
       Strategy Group has agreed that the Best Play Objectives will form an additional
       standard for providers to work towards. These objectives are:

            •    The provision extends the choice and control that children have over their play,
                 the freedom they enjoy and the satisfaction they gain from it.

            •    The provision recognises that child’s need to test boundaries and responds
                 positively to that need.

            •    The provision manages the balance between the need to offer risk and the need
                 to keep children safe from harm.

            •    The provision maximises the range of play opportunities

            •    The provision fosters independence and self esteem.

            •    The provision fosters children’s respect for others and offers opportunities for
                 social interaction.

            •    The provision fosters the child’s well being, healthy growth and development,
                 knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn.

       Existing providers will be encouraged to incorporate these standards into their practice
       and use them to evaluate their provision. New providers will be advised to adopt these
       standards from the beginning. The Early Years and Childcare Service will actively
       promote these standards during quality assurance visits to providers and during training.

       The 3 Frees principles will also be promoted so that each settings considers how it can
       incorporate being free of charge, that children are free to come and go and free to
       choose what they want to do.

       7.2 Quality assurance

       Quality assurance of current play provision is determined by the Early Years & Childcare
       Service for statutory, voluntary and private providers within early years, childcare and
       playwork. The quality of staff working in play settings is ensured through ongoing
       training and continual self assessment. Training for qualification in Take 5 and Take 10
       for Play is provided and is recognised by OfSTED. All staff are recommended to use the
       Out of School Observation and Assessment Systems to improve their own practice and
       so the play experiences on offer. Solihull also has trained assessors in Aiming Higher
       for Children – 4 Children. All settings are required to demonstrate that they are working
       towards relevant quality assurance standards or aiming towards accreditation.


       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                  15
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                   Page 14
       Quality of service for older young people is assured via the Youth Service Hear By Right
       Standards, OfSTED framework and Youth Service Pledge.                 Play and leisure
       opportunities provided by Connexions are similarly assured. The Leisure Service use
       ISO, QUEST (UK quality scheme for sports & leisure) and TAES (Towards An Excellent
       Service) measures to assure their provision. This is internally and externally regulated.
       Playschemes run in leisure centres are covered by OfSTED standards. Voluntary sector
       providers also register with OfSTED as required and can access Early Years and
       Childcare support to maximise quality assurance.

       All staff working with children and young people within the statutory and voluntary
       sectors have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check to ensure that they have no
       offences that would bar them from playwork. The Equality Standard for local
       government will be promoted and all services requested to implement this framework by
       undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment.

       Play equipment in parks and public spaces are quality assured using the National
       Playing Field Association standards. The play value of each play area is assessed. An
       audit of provision to Disability Discrimination Act criteria has just been completed. Park
       staff with responsibility for the safety of play area equipment are appropriately qualified
       in inspection and maintenance in line with International Register of Play Inspectors.

       It is proposed that in the future, the Play Value Scoring Sheet (Neighbourhood Play
       Toolkit 2006) will be used to assess new play provision and then rolled out to existing
       play provision. This will be done in conjunction with other quality assurance models.

       7.3 Risk management

       The risk within the Play Strategy will be managed by the Play Strategy Group with
       appropriate support from the local authority. The external funding team will assist in risk
       management of grant funding for play provision via the local authority. In the voluntary,
       independent and private sector, risk is managed via the individual provider with support
       from Early Years and Childcare and Children’s Voluntary Sector Forum.
       Comprehensive risk management training is provided by the local authority for statutory
       and voluntary partners.

       At an operational level, it is acknowledged that a blame culture and fear of litigation has
       lead to over cautiousness resulting in some play facilities offering no challenge and little
       contribution to child development. This will leave some children to seek excitement in
       more dangerous or anti social activities. The need for children and young people to
       experience thrilling play and take risks for the benefit of their development is understood
       as a play principle and providers are encouraged to review the activities they offer and
       incorporate more challenging opportunities if required. This type of provision can be
       provided within health and safety limits and training around risk assessment is being
       continually developed. During risk assessments, all services will be encouraged to
       consider the benefit to the child of the activity alongside the likelihood and impact of an
       accident or injury.

       7.4 Workforce development

       All staff in Solihull who work with children and young people are able to access core
       training in child protection, First Aid, Inclusion Awareness and safeguarding. A range of
       more specific courses are also available through the local authority Training and
       Development Unit. Training for playwork qualifications is available through Solihull
       College or Early Years and Childcare Service. These opportunities are equally available
       to the voluntary and community sector in addition to their own existing learning


       Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                              16
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                Page 15
        opportunities. The Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce
        requires that local authorities develop a local workforce plan. This gives scope for
        additional training and accreditation of play staff.
        Local authority staff, who work outside the Education and Children’s Service Directorate
        but have direct contact with children and young people can also access local training.
        Therefore the park ranger workforce, within Community Services, have been able to
        participate in training about engaging with children and young people.

        Local expertise in outdoor play is being enhanced by Forest School developments that
        began in January 2006. This outdoor approach to learning in a woodland environment
        using local leaders will provide a resource to provide outdoor play opportunities.
        Similarly, expertise from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme can be utilised for staff
        development in challenging, outdoor settings.


        8     Action Plan

        8.1   Criteria for identifying priorities for development

        In May 2005, the Children’s Fund and Early Years and Childcare Service hosted two
        workshops for a range of local partners to discuss the theory of play, local provision and
        priorities for action. The Play Strategy Group emerged from key stakeholders at these
        events. The following priorities were jointly agreed by local stakeholders and approved
        by the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership in October 2005.

        Action 1: Raise the profile of play in Solihull.

        Action 2: Involve children, young people and parents in planning to create new,
        challenging and exciting play opportunities for children.

        Action 3: Ensure that play opportunities for children and young people are genuinely
        inclusive, and promote equality and diversity.

        Action 4: Ensure that information on play provision is accurate, up to date, and easily
        accessible for children, young people and parents.

        Action 5: Involve a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies in developing
        approaches for promoting the health, safety and well being of children and young people
        through play.

        Action 6: Particular focus be given to 5-11 year olds.

        Action 7: Consideration of long term sustainability of play opportunities as part of any
        lottery bid

        The group used a logic modelling framework to develop an outcome orientated action
        plan for play services for an 18 month period. This plan will then be updated by the Play
        Strategy Group annually commencing in March 2007. The action plan can be viewed in
        table 5.




         Play Play Strategy 2006
Solihull Solihull Strategy And Action Plan                                                         17   Page 16
Table 5: Action Plan for October 2005 – March 2007


Priority
Action         Action                   Outcomes                 Activities             Partners            Resources             Target            Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                                Date
   1     Raise the profile          Children and adults     Drama presentation     Environmental          Identify existing   Host 2 play        Spring 06
         of play in                 from all sectors will   to groups/meetings     Maintenance            budgets             celebration
         Solihull                   understand what         i.e. Making Choices    Community Health       available i.e.      events
                                    play is and its         presentation by        Workers                within Council.
                                    importance for          Purple Monster         Councillors
                                    children                                       Local MPs              Well trained        Programme of       Programme by
                                                            Provide                Early Years &          motivated staff     Play Training in   Jan 06
                                                            free/subsidised        Childcare              committed to        place              Accredited by
                                                            playwork training      Education &            play in a variety                      Jan 07
                                                                                   Children’s Services    of venues
                                                            Run Open Access        Voluntary Sector                           Open access        July & Aug ’06
                                                            play and provide       Children’s Fund        Detached            play during
                                                            information about      Libraries & Lifelong   workers and         school holidays
                                                            play.                  Learning               play workers to
                                                                                   Leisure Services       visit sites/areas
                                                            Invite Cabinet         Community Safety                           Disseminate        Nov 05
                                                            Member for             Children and                               strategy and       Update June 06
                                                            Education and          Young People                               action plan via
                                                            Children’s Services                                               CYPSP
                                                            to relevant meetings
                                                            and activities/keep                                               Reference play     Dec 2005
                                                            informed.                                                         strategy in
                                                                                                                              Children &
                                                                                                                              Young People
                                                            Play Strategy Group                                               Plan
                                                            operational &
                                                            includes range of                                                 Play Strategy      From Nov 05
                                                            partners                                                          Group meets        Review Nov 06
                                                                                                                              each quarter




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                   18
                          Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                       Page 17
Priority
Action        Action                      Outcomes                 Activities            Partners          Resources              Target               Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                                   Date
   1     Raise the profile            5% of play facilities   Take children to       Environmental        Safe spaces for   Maintain existing 51   Ongoing
         of play in                   will demonstrate 3      other provision to     Maintenance          indoor and        structured play
         Solihull                     Free principle          broaden their          Community Health     outdoor play      settings
                                                              experience             Workers
                                      Play opportunities                             Councillors          Play providers    Develop 6 new op /     Jan 07
                                      will be well            Provide open           Local MPs                              access settings
                                      promoted                access and             Early Years &        A range of play
                                      throughout the          restricted play to     Childcare            equipment both    Scrapstore/resource
                                      Borough                 raise public           Education &          static,           bank established       March 07
                                                              awareness of           Children’s           temporary
                                      All children &          different types of     Services Voluntary   shelters and      Application
                                      young people will       play.                  Sector               consumables       submitted to Big       Nov 06
                                      have a choice of                               Children’s Fund                        Lottery
                                      appropriate,            Develop a              Libraries &          Play
                                      inclusive play          Scrapstore for play    Lifelong Learning    Development       Quarterly meetings
                                      provision within 1      providers              Leisure Services     Workers           with Regeneration      From Oct 05
                                      mile of home in                                Community Safety                       partners
                                      urban area and 5        Apply to Big Lottery   Children and         Permanent
                                      miles in rural area     – funding              Young People         Play posts –      Participate in north
                                                              announced                                   full and part     Solihull Visioning     Dec 05
                                                              September 2005                              time              Day

                                                              Engage with                                 CIS               Deliver Forest
                                                              Regeneration about                                            School pilot           July 06
                                                              playspace agenda
                                                                                                                            Convene 2
                                                              Develop Forest                                                meetings for           March 06
                                                              School Pilot                                                  summer providers       Review Oct 06

                                                              Use of variety of                                             Produce of summer
                                                              tools i.e. 4U2Do                                              booklet                June 06
                                                              Summer Booklet to                                             Continued updates
                                                              promote summer                                                on 4 U 2 do
                                                              Play                                                          website.               Ongoing




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                      19
                              Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                         Page 18
Priority
Action         Action                  Outcomes                Activities             Partners            Resources              Target              Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                                 Date
   2     Involve children,         Children, young        Consultation with      Play workers and        Equipment,          Review existing      Dec 05
         young people              people and families    parents and children   other frontline staff   venue,              consultation
         and parents in            are fully engaged in                                                  refreshments        reports
         planning to               developing and         Review existing        Children’s and          for consultation
                                   reviewing play         consultation reports   Parent Involvement                          2 new                Jan 06
         create new,
                                   opportunities at       from ECM               Officer                 Staff salaries      consultations        June 06
         challenging and           75% of settings        consultations                                                      for children held
         exciting play                                                                                   Transport
         opportunities.            A core group of 6      Play workshops for     Parents and 0-19
                                   service users work     parents for parents    yr olds                 Facilitator costs   1 workshop           Oct 06
                                   with the Play          to revisit own play                                                carried out
                                   Strategy Group         experiences            Children’s Fund         Time from play
                                                                                                         strategy group      3 play taster        Dec 05
                                                          Play taster sessions   Play Development        members             sessions held        April 06
                                                          and visits to new      Worker                                      (1per term)          July 06
                                                          play facilities for
                                                          children               Children’s
                                                                                 Information Service                         Evaluation built     Ongoing
                                                          Children and parents                                               into all provision
                                                          review and evaluate
                                                          play opportunities.
                                                                                                                             2 detached           Summer 06
                                                          Detached style                                                     consultations
                                                          consultation with                                                  carried out
                                                          children and young
                                                          people.                                                            Audit of             Sept 06
                                                                                                                             provision by
                                                          Audit involvement                                                  age & provider
                                                          for statutory and
                                                          voluntary agencies
                                                                                                                             Core group           Jan 07
                                                          Establish service                                                  trained and
                                                          user core group                                                    operational




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                   20
                      Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                       Page 19
Priority
Action        Action                    Outcomes              Activities                Partners           Resources              Target           Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                               Date
   3     Ensure that play           All children and     Settings implement        Existing staff who     Parental            Portfolio of      Spring 06
         opportunities for          young people         recommendations           offer play and staff   knowledge of        good practice
         children and               access and enjoy     from consultation         for inclusion.         inclusion needs     disseminated
         young people               play provision                                                        of their children
                                                         Formalised inclusive      All children and                           Checklist in
         are genuinely
                                    All children and     play training, looking    young people.          Budget for          place for self    Jan 06
         inclusive                  young people state   at work in a variety of                          training.           and peer
                                    that they have       settings.                 Support workers to                         assessment of
                                    ownership of                                   ensure equal           Support             phys & cultural
                                    provision they use   Build up a portfolio of   access.                workers – more      environment
                                                         good practice of                                 in each setting,
                                                         inclusive play            Parents                not necessarily     Equality Impact
                                                                                                                                                March 07
                                                         activities                                       specialist          assessment on
                                                                                                                              40% settings
                                                         Audit the physical &                             Outreach work
                                                         cultural environments                            to (target)         40% settings
                                                         of provision                                     groups              have audited      December 06
                                                                                                                              inclusivity of
                                                         Individual providers                             Identify            provision
                                                         publish their inclusion                          materials /
                                                         policy                                           equipment to        Training
                                                                                                          facilitate          programme in      Jan 06
                                                         Training for staff on                            inclusion           place
                                                         management of
                                                         disabilities and                                                     5 open access
                                                         specific additional                                                  settings          Jan 07
                                                         needs in a setting i.e.                                              demonstrate
                                                         behaviour, language                                                  inclusion of
                                                                                                                              special needs
                                                         Survey children &
                                                         young people about                                                   Carry out         March 07
                                                         ownership                                                            survey 40%
                                                                                                                              settings




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                   21
                          Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                       Page 20
Priority
Action        Action                  Outcomes                  Activities               Partners        Resources             Target            Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                             Date
   4     Ensure that               All children and      Ongoing consultation        Children’s         Pooled             CIS publish        Each quarter
         information on            young people          with parents, children      Information        promotional        findings from
         play provision            know where and        and young people on         Service            budgets across     consultation
         is accurate, up           how to access play    information format and                         agencies
                                   provision in          location.                   Libraries
         to date, and
                                   Solihull according                                                   Allocated          Review
         easily                    to their individual   Continued development       Existing and new   marketing          structure and      Dec 05
         accessible for            need and locality     & promotion of 4U2do        providers          budget             content of
         children, young                                 website                                        including          4u2do website
         people and                                                                  Children, young    officer time for
         parents                                         Continued production of     people and         website,           Easter activity
                                                         summer activities booklet   parents            publication        booklet            March 06
                                                         and extension into                             print materials    published
                                                         seasonal booklets

                                                         Defined
                                                         communication/marketing                                           Communication
                                                         plan for consistent                                               plan               March 06
                                                         promotion across areas                                            operational

                                                         Survey local residents                                            Carry out          March 07
                                                         about their knowledge of                                          public survey in
                                                         play facilities                                                   north, central &
                                                                                                                           south areas




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                  22
                        Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                   Page 21
Priority
Action        Action                    Outcomes               Activities            Partners           Resources           Target          Milestone
 Point                                                                                                                                            Date
   5     Involve a wide             Play provision will   Map current            Existing play         Conference       Directory of
         range of                   be increased by       provision              providers             costs            provision           January 06
         statutory and              10% and reshaped                                                                    available on
         voluntary                  by providers          Identify and engage    New potential         Dedicated time   One Voice
                                    offering 1 more       with agencies          partners. e.g.        to map current   website.
         agencies in
                                    outdoor activity      currently not          • Highways            and potential
         developing play                                  involved with play     • Regeneration        providers        Play strategy       Nov 05
         to promote                                       strategy               • Police                               circulated to all
         health, safety                                                          • Youth               Time to          agencies
         and wellbeing of                                 Presentations to           Offending         research
         children and                                     potential partners         Team              effective        Play celebration    Spring 06
         young people                                                            • Church/uniform      practice         event
                                                          Conference for             groups
                                                          Solihull                                                      5 meeting held      Sept 06
                                                          Stakeholders           Conference                             with 5 new
                                                                                 facilitators                           partners
                                                          Research effective
                                                          practice nationally    Children’s Fund                        1 Solihull Play     May 06
                                                          and locally                                                   conference
                                                                                 Play Strategy                          organised
                                                                                 Group members
                                                          Develop a play bank                                           Research            Each quarter
                                                          of sessional staff     Forest School staff                    trends feedback
                                                          who would be                                                  to Play Strategy
                                                          available to support                                          Group
                                                          play opportunities
                                                                                                                        Feasibility         April 06
                                                          Forest School staff                                           exercise for
                                                          to advise play                                                sessional bank
                                                          settings                                                      completed

                                                                                                                        Forest School       Feb 07
                                                                                                                        staff visit 10%
                                                                                                                        play settings




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                23
                          Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 22
      8.2 Play settings

      The audit findings of play provision have detailed the number and broad categories of play
      provision available. More specifically, Solihull currently offers play opportunities in the
      following range of settings:

            •    Day Care Nurseries
            •    Crèches
            •    Parent & Toddler Groups
            •    Child Minders
            •    Pre-school and Playgroups
            •    Holiday Play Schemes
            •    Open Access play
            •    Extended schools under 13s clubs
            •    After School clubs
            •    Before school provision
            •    Playwork in hospital
            •    Provision for children with additional needs
            •    Leisure centres
            •    Private commercial play venues
            •    Youth Provision
            •    Children’s Play Areas
            •    Parks and Open Green Spaces

      A range of partners from the statutory, voluntary and private sectors manage these
      settings. The identified gaps in current provision are for open access and outdoor play
      settings.


      8.3       Play development

      Solihull MBC has one play development worker for Extended Schools. This post is funded
      by three partners; Extended Schools, Early Years & Childcare Service and the Children’s
      Fund. A second play development worker is employed by Northern Star, a voluntary
      sector partner. In addition to these specific development posts, other childcare staff in a
      range of settings have play qualifications and responsibility for developing play work in
      their local setting.

      The Director for Education and Children’s Services volunteered to be the Play Champion
      at the Solihull Play Conference in June 2006. This will add credibility to the strategic
      direction of the play agenda. It is envisaged that as the profile of play is raised nationally
      and locally, that additional investment will be allocated to play development work to
      expand the range of current provision and reshape existing provision.


      8.4       Timelines

      The current strategy is a three year document with a focused action plan for the first 18
      months from October 2005 – March 2007. This initial period will synchronise the action
      plan to the financial year after which it will be reviewed annually to allow frequent scrutiny
      of practice.




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                25
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                 Page 23
      8.5     Resources & sustainability

      The majority of current play provision is grant funded through the local authority. In
      particular the Sure Start, Children’s Fund, Extended Schools and Standards Fund grants
      financially support alot of settings. Core funding from the local authority is available to the
      Environmental Maintenance Department for the management of play equipment in parks.
      The voluntary sector has been successful in bringing in a range of funding from the Big
      Lottery, Children in Need, Community Safety and other financiers to resource play
      opportunities. Some of this provision is also revenue based as services users pay a small
      fee. A small number of private companies have been able to run a totally self financing
      provision in the area.

      The sustainability of provision that is reliant on short term grant streams is an issue that
      the Play Strategy Group identified and raised with the local authority. The elected member
      for Children and Young People has been involved in this debate and is an active
      spokesperson for additional core funding for play. The Director of Education and
      Children’s Services’ acceptance of the role of Play Champion should also ensure
      longevity. The external funding team are involved in managing this inherent risk. It is
      envisaged that a target in the future Local Area Agreement will aid sustainability and raise
      the profile of play.


      8.6 Monitoring

      Play provision is performance managed by each individual provider according to their
      agency’s criteria. As the majority of current provision is funded through Early Years &
      Childcare, Extended Schools or the Children’s Fund, it is subject to standard national
      monitoring criteria with an established reporting system. Representatives from these
      providers are members of the Play Strategy Group, which aims to coordinate provision and
      collate monitoring data of the number of children and young people accessing services.
      Individual providers will be requested to send a copy of their existing monitoring data to the
      Strategy Group.

      The Play Strategy Group reviews monitoring information and the current play action plan
      every 6 months and reports to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership. The
      Service Director for Social Regeneration and Learning Strategy provides strategic
      oversight for play services in Early Years and Extended Schools within the local authority.
      The Community Services Directorate, which manages the parks department, has strategic
      oversight for the outdoor parks projects and service user data. The relevant thematic
      groups of the Local Strategic Partnership is kept informed of play developments and
      strategic input provided as necessary.

      Operationally, new projects will be required to complete quarterly monitoring data on the
      frequency and demographics of service use. This will more reliably monitor use of play
      settings and trial a system that is consistent across funders and agencies that can be used
      by all projects in the future.

      An annual play conference for all stakeholders will be hosted. This event will be the vehicle
      for disseminating the findings and lessons learnt from the Play Strategy and showcase
      good practice. Other formats for sharing information, such as a child friendly magazine or
      DVD for assemblies will be developed.




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                 26
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 24
      8.7 Children and young people’s involvement

      The Play Strategy Group is committed to the active involvement of children, young people
      and parents in the design and delivery of services. The profile of participation amongst
      local partners will be raised through training events, direct support to agencies by the
      Children’s Fund participation team and the local authority Children’s Involvement &
      Development Officer. Involvement will go beyond consultation to include children in
      recruiting staff, evaluating provision, reviewing the strategy and advising on future direction
      of services. It is proposed that a core group user group made up of approximately 6 – 8
      children, young people or parents be established to work alongside the Strategy Group to
      jointly steer the strategy and operation.

      The commitment of Solihull MBC to the involvement of children and young people is
      clearly stated in the Children and Young People’s Participation Proposal and Action Plan.
      The Children’s Trust Business Plan also clearly outlines plans for continued involvement
      with children and young people, to which play services will contribute.


      9 Evaluation Plan
      9.1 Outcomes and indicators
      An evaluation framework for the strategy and individual projects with specific outcome
      indicators has been developed following the model proposed by Barnardo’s and the
      National Children’s Bureau. The projects will use primary data (interviews, observation,
      groupwork) and secondary data (minutes, session recording) to determine how far
      outcomes have been reached. As service user involvement is fundamental to all children’s
      services in Solihull, children, young people and their families will be part of this process.
      This evaluation framework will be rolled out to new play providers, so that outcomes can
      be measured in a consistent way across settings. This information will contribute to the
      Borough’s Annual Performance Assessment and Joint Area Review.

      Table 6, on the following page, shows the outcome indicator template that will be trialled
      by existing and new projects.


      9.2 Review

      The play strategy and action plan will be reviewed annually by the Play Strategy Group
      and reported to the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership. Children, young
      people and parents will be part of this process. A report from each project about outcome
      attainment and service user data will be required every 6 months, at the mid and end of
      year, which will inform the action plan review.




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                 27
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 25
Table 6: Solihull Play Indicators and Outcomes

       Priority action                       Input indicator                       Output indicator                       Outcome indicator

1. Raise the profile of play in   Meetings and presentations to various   Stakeholders have heard / seen play     People understand what play is
Solihull                          stakeholders.                           presentations.                          (across schools/council etc) and the
                                  Free / subsided training.               Training sessions attendance.           importance of play for children
                                  Play staff talk to parents.             Family & community representatives
                                  Children’s Information Service.         have received play information &
                                  Cabinet reports.                        recognise its value.
                                                                          Minutes of cabinet
                                  Staff and transport to enable CYP to    CYP have visited variety of play        Improved play facilities/children’s
                                  visit a range of play environments.     settings.                               spaces in Solihull
                                  Open & restricted access play           Different types of play provided.       5% of play facilities will demonstrate 3
                                  provided.                               Funding streams secured.                Free principle
                                  Funding information received.           Working relationship with
                                  Contact made with regeneration          regeneration established
                                  team.
                                  Children’s Information Service.         Children, young people & families       Play opportunities will be well
                                  Website                                 know what play opportunities are        promoted throughout the Borough
                                  Telephone helpline                      available.
                                  Paper publications                      Practitioners aware of play
                                  Survey of users                         opportunities.
                                                                          Play provision clearly visible around
                                                                          borough
                                  Open & closed access provision.         Provision accessible for common         All children & young people will have
                                  Range of providers.                     interest groups, e.g. Disabled CYP,     a choice of appropriate, inclusive play
                                  Range of physical settings              travellers                              provision within 1 mile of home in
                                                                                                                  urban area and 5 miles in rural area

2. Involve children, young        Participation staff                     Consultation events                     Children, young people and families
people and parents in             Capacity building for service users.    Evaluation findings.                    are fully engaged in developing and
planning to create new,           Services have set periods for           Settings implement findings.            reviewing play opportunities at 75% of
challenging and exciting play     consultation.                           Service users on management group       settings
opportunities.                    Visit to different types of provision   of settings
                                  outside Solihull                                                                A core group of 6 service users work
                                                                                                                  with the Play Strategy Group




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                                  28
                    Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                      Page 26
       Priority action                     Input indicator                    Output indicator                      Outcome indicator

3. Ensure that play              Training                            Settings have clear inclusive          All children and young people access
opportunities for children and   Budget for equipment or reshaping   principles and demonstrate             and enjoy play provision
young people are genuinely       provision.                          implementation.
inclusive                        Staff values.                       Range of users                         All children and young people state
                                                                     Service users report positive          that they have ownership of provision
                                                                     ownership                              they use

4. Ensure that information on    Children’s Information Service.     Accurate website, telephone and        All children and young people know
play provision is accurate, up   Provider’s service updates.         paper information.                     where and how to access play
to date, and easily                                                  Providers & users report that they     provision in Solihull according to their
accessible for children,                                             know about provision.                  individual need and locality.
young people and parents

5. Involve a wide range of       Communication with providers        Staff are trained in active            Play provision will be increased by
statutory and voluntary          Training                            involvement, risk management, health   10% and reshaped by providers
agencies in developing play      Children’s voluntary Sector forum   & safety                               offering 1 more outdoor activity
to promote health, safety and
wellbeing of children and
young people




Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                                                                            29
                    Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                Page 27
      Appendix A: Stakeholder List


                 Name                              Position                         Agency

      Helen Jackson                 Manager                             Children’s Fund

      Teresa Scragg                 Manager                             Early Years & Childcare
                                                                        Service
      Andrea Baker                  Manager                             Children’s Information &
                                                                        Access Service
      Pam Yates                     Development Officer                 Early Years & Childcare
                                                                        Service
      Kat Fishwick                  Arts Development Officer            SMBC

      Natalie Goulding              Out of School Hours Learning Co-    SMBC
                                    ordinator
      Ken Phillips                  Leisure Service Development         SMBC
                                    Manager
      Linda Davies                  Development Officer                 Chelmsley Wood Sure Start

      Ruth Shand                    Policy Officer – Extended Schools   SMBC

      Pete Roberts                  Play Development Worker             Northern Star

      Sharon Cheesley               Community Development Officer       Kinshurst Children’s Centre

      Andy Cox-Peel                 Support Worker                      On Track

      PC Patel                      Police Constable                    Solihull Police

      PC Ballard                    Police Community Support            Solihull Police

      Lorraine Baldwin              LOCAN coordinator                   Solihull SNAP

      Carol Beddows                 Manager                             Chuckles Nursery

      Alan Michell                  Principal Officer                   Youth Service

      Carole Da Costa               Children’s Trust Officer            SMBC

      Tim Oruye                     Participation Worker                Children’s Fund

      Katell Kerampran              PAYP personal advisor               Connexions

      Stephen Dawes                 Play Development Worker             Extended Schools

      Wendy Jeffries                Health Promotion Specialist         Solihull PCT

      Emma Sibbing                  Play & Horticultural Officer        SMBC


       Advisory Capacity
      John Freeman                  Play Lead                           Birmingham Children’s Fund

      Dave Dunkley                  Headteacher                         Coleshill Heath School




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                     30
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                     Page 28
      Appendix B: References

      Ask Us : Involving and informing disabled children and young people in planning and using
      open spaces. The Children’s Society, April 2004

      Best Play: What Play Provision Should Do for Children
      Published by the National Playing Fields Association, March 2000
      ISBN 094608533

      Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce. Department for
      Education and Skills, April 2005

      Crime and Disorder Strategy (2005-08). Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 2005

      Getting Serious About Play: A Review of Children’s Play
      Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2004

      Green Spaces Strategy. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 2005

      Guide to Preparing Play Strategies: Planning Inclusive Play Spaces and Opportunities for
      all London’s Children and Young People
      Greater London Authority -The Mayor of London, April 2005
      ISBN 1 852617284

      Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire.        Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and
      Primary Care Trust 2004

      Leisure Strategy for Disabled Children and Young People, Solihull Metropolitan Borough
      Council, 2005

      North Solihull Strategic Framework. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, 2005

      Physical Activity Strategy. , Solihull Primary Health Care Trust, 2005

      Play in Co-ordinated Children’s Services – A Briefing for Directors of Children’s Services
      and Lead Members for Children
      Children’s Play Council, June 05

      Teenagers “need more to do”. Audit Commission with Mori 2001

      The Strategy for the Arts in Solihull 2005-2010. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council,
      2005

      United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Adopted by UK Government in
      1991




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                  31
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                  Page 29
      Appendix C: Play Consultation Findings

      Every Child Matters, Local Preventative Strategy 2003

      Two themed days for children and young people about their response to the Every Child
      Matters paper which informed the local authority’s Local Preventative Strategy.
      Universal consultations were held in all primary and secondary schools and specific
      agencies undertook targeted consultations with their user groups. 300 children and young
      people were reached by during the latter process. A clear finding was that there was a lack
      of somewhere safe to go and something to do. This early evidence indicates that a lack of
      play provision was already recognised.

      Children’s Fund, February 2004

      A themed participation day about “what would you like to change about where you live”
      was held with 47 children and young people aged between 8 –13 years. It was found that
      the majority of the group felt that parks needed to be better looked after to reduce
      vandalism. The group felt that new and more challenging equipment was needed in parks,
      for example a skate park and go kart track.

      Parent’s Panel, April 2004

      The Kingshurst parent’s group (16 members), who form part of the Children’s Fund
      Steering group, looked into the feasibility of running a playbus to provide play opportunities
      in north Solihull area. This was in response to their own and other parent’s concerns
      about a lack of free, easily accessible play opportunities in the area. The playbus would
      provide a mobile play service across the area, in open spaces or school and community
      sites, that would be more flexible that current provision to meet family needs.

      Children’s Information Service, May 2004

      Young people held their own consultation with children and young people attending the
      CIS Information Roadshows. They used a Wish Box into which participants posted their
      wishes for a better life. Overall 174 children and young people were consulted. A quarter of
      those consulted expressed personal wishes about wanting more friends. 60% had wishes
      that related to their neighbourhoods. Many requested more play spaces although there
      was no clear consensus about specific details. Comments ranged from more parks, parks
      closer to home or adventure play areas. The need to feel safer and safe from bullying and
      vandalism in open spaces was also frequently cited.

      Safer Stuff Consultation, June 2004

      The Children’s Fund and On Track teams arranged a two day roadshow to promote
      personal safety and carry out a questionnaire consultation about safety and opportunities
      in local area. Overall, 549 children and young people took part. No data about age or
      gender was collected. When asked what activities young people would like to see more of
      in their local area, the three priorities were better sports facilities, more youth clubs /
      playschemes and improved parks.




      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                32
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                 Page 30
      Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, February 2005

      To provide local play facilities in response to local needs. To reflect the needs of old and
      young children as well as more robust spaces for use by young adults for more extreme
      recreational pursuits like skate park or biking.

      Children’s Fund Participation Day, October 2005

      23 children aged between 8 – 13 years attended a 2 day play event and had the
      opportunity to meet with a local police officer about community safety. The findings from
      this meeting included acknowledgement of playing fields and parks for outdoor play.
      However, concerns about safety in these spaces was raised and a greater police presence
      requested.

      The Children’s Society, 2005

      The “Ask Us” consultation was carried out by disabled children and young people from the
      Shared Care project. They visited outdoor play areas to determine whether children with
      physical and sensory disabilities could use the equipment. They successfully lobbied
      Solihull Parks for more wheelchair accessible parks equipment.

      Children’s Fund for Extended Schools, Spring 2005

      Children’s Fund staff consulted with children in 5 local primary schools, through the school
      council mechanism, about play and activity in local area and school sites.

      Save the Children, March 2005

      A development worker from Save the Children carried out a needs analysis with the
      traveller community in Solihull for 12 months to determine their play and recreation needs.
      37 children from 20 families were consulted. It was found that these children and young
      people were geographically isolated and requested support to access sport & play facilities
      during school holiday periods.       This theme has remained consistent in 2006 as the
      Children’s Fund have continued contact with the traveller community.

      Extended Schools Playing Out, October 2005

      55 children and young people (26 male, 29 female) aged between 7 and 18 years visited
      adventure play areas outside of Solihull to widen their experience of play areas and so be
      better prepared to express a preference on current and future provision in Solihull. The
      young people used a camera to photograph the play equipment they liked best. The five
      most popular pieces of equipment were:
      Rope Swing
      Death Slide
      Platforms and structures
      Fire making
      Whole adventure playground area and its variety of landscape and activity

      Regeneration Consultation, June 2006

      Approximately 30 children and young people joined in an open air consultation held on
      Babb’s Mill park about play facilities at that site. This group was particularly concerned
      with safety in park and how play equipment could be kept safe from vandals. More
      challenging play equipment was requested, as opposed to more organised activities and
      improved safety via increased police presence.


      Solihull Play Strategy 2006                                                                    33
Solihull Play Strategy And Action Plan                                                                    Page 31

				
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