Play Rangers event

Ken Kennedy, Regional ManageR – SOuth West

We’re marking the end of the Play Rangers project in Bristol this month. Volunteering Matters have been running outdoor play activities and events for children across south Bristol for around ten years. The most recent Big Lottery Funded Play Ranger programme ran weekly, free, open access  play activities for children after school in the parks and green spaces of south Bristol. The regular play sessions provided a safe, fun space for children to be physically active, socialise, play games and explore –  interested parents were even allowed too! Staff and volunteers organised activities such as water fights, football and outdoor cooking – getting young people to  have more fun outdoors. In the summer months when school was out, play-days (run in partnership with other local groups) attracted hundreds of young people along.

The project’s funding comes to an end in April, and despite our best efforts, we haven’t been able to secure further funding to keep it going.  Whilst projects like Play Rangers are obviously made possible by the support and involvement of volunteers, they do require stable funding  and paid staff in order  to be run and managed at the level we would expect. Qualified staff co-ordinated and provided the weekly games and activities, supported our volunteers, ensured safe walking from the schools to the park, and ensured the sites were safe and tidy. Working with youth groups, families, parks groups and the wider community they made sure the project played in places where it could be of most benefit and relevance to the people living  there.

We’re very  proud of the Out To Play Team, the volunteers, parents and the 8,200 young people who generated such positive energy over the last few years.  We do hope the community that has grown around Play Rangers will continue to thrive – we will be working with them to sign-post to, and make the most of, other opportunities in the area.