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Blog posted on 16th August 2017 by Steve Danby
We're proud to have recently played host to a playground training seminar, held in association with the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations.
The event was aimed at providing insight and training to local volunteers about a range of play area related topics, including design, consultation, project management, funding, inspection, and maintenance.
Those in attendance were given the opportunity to hear from a number of industry experts and specialist, including experienced members of the Playscheme team. The event also gave people an opportunity to discuss projects with our sales and design teams, as well as network and link up with like-minded people from other parishes who face similar situations and challenges.
Kicking off the seminar was a talk from our Chairman, John Danby. John gave an introduction to Playscheme, starting with our beginnings 20 years ago, the experience gained in that time and what we offer in terms of the designing and building of playgrounds, the support we provide for planning and inspections, and our experience in theming.
Next up was a presentation from our Special Projects Manager, Alan Kitts. Alan has a wealth of experience in securing and successfully delivering a range of play area projects. The topic of his presentation was the value of play, with emphasis on how academics and play practitioners have studied the benefits children gain from play. This has been proven to help children develop a sense of well-being, improve personal skills and boost learning and problem-solving skills. Alan also discussed the importance of ensuring play areas are inclusive for children of all abilities and levels.
The third speaker of the event provided a chance to hear from the Chairman of the Churchfield Open Space Committee and Wigginton Parish Councillor, Richard Denton. Richard has been instrumental in raising funds and with the help of Playscheme, transforming a previously empty field into one of York's most popular state of the art playgrounds. Richard provided advice and guidance on securing grants from a number of avenues for public playgrounds.
Following on from Richard's talk, consultant and fund raising specialist Liz Hughes delivered a speech on obtaining suitable funding and how best to structure bids. Liz has worked closely with ourselves for many years, and this interesting and informative talk covered the key parts to include in order to have the best chance of successfully securing grants. Liz discussed the importance of demonstrating how your project can make a difference and why it's vital to involve the local community from the start.
Her talk revolved around five key points:
• Think ahead - carry out surveys, questionnaires, and meetings with those who will benefit from the project.
• Make a plan - set out what your project is about and demonstrate why, how, where and when. This will form the basis of your funding application.
• Get accurate costs - obtain comparable quotations and choose the one that best meets your needs, NOT necessarily the cheapest.
• Identify funding sources - make sure you and your project are eligible for funding. Identify match funding.
• Tell a story - make funders want to be part of your project!
Demand for funding is high and competition is strong, but we're on hand to help you every step of the way! If you'd like to know more about securing funds and submitting bid applications, please get in touch.
Bringing the seminar to a close was RPII Marketing & Communications Director and The Play Inspection Company Director, Jon Dalton. Jon gave a detailed presentation on the dos and don'ts of playground maintenance, upkeep as well as health and safety. The importance of risk assessments was discussed, along with how best to avoid playground accidents and injuries. The focal point was a look at the legal aspects of health and safety associated with play areas and the differences between risk and challenge in play.
Following the end of his presentation which focussed on different types of inspections, their methodology and recording, Jon gave a hands-on workshop at Wheldrake Playground where he demonstrated how to complete daily inspections as well as accurately and correctly document them.
Those who attended were presented with a certificate of attendance to add to their repertoire of playground knowledge, which will hopefully stand them in good stead for their future projects. Thanks to all who attended, we had a great time hosting this seminar and we already can't wait for the next one!
If you'd like more information on any of the above subjects or are interested in attending our next event, please get in touch!