SNAP Cymru, in partnership with Groundwork Wales Sustainable Play Programme, have been delivering free training on Inclusive Play as part of the Welsh Government Children’s and Families Delivery Grant.

Inclusive play is primarily about all children and young people having equal access to – and equal participation in – local play, childcare and leisure opportunities. Having choice and the right to choose freely.

 “Play is a vital part of a child’s upbringing and development which benefits   their health, happiness and well-being. I am very proud the Welsh Government took the lead on this issue, making Wales the first nation in the UK to legislate on play.’’

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

However, despite the range of legislation and guidance supporting the child’s right to play and to be included, disabled children still face many barriers, both social and environmental. Environmental barriers that exclude children with impairments, such as uneven surfaces and narrow gates, can easily be changed. Social barriers such as fear, embarrassment and lack of confidence amongst providers also need to be tackled so that an accessible play space is also an inclusive one in which disabled children and their families feel welcome.

To support sustainable and inclusive play opportunities, the  Welsh Government have provided a Children’s and Families Delivery grant to SNAP Cymru in Partnership with Groundwork to increase the accessibility and quality of children’s outdoor play opportunities in areas of high deprivation. Over 11,500 children are expected to be involved in the programme’s play activities delivered by Groundwork, with SNAP Cymru providing specialist support and training to widen participation and access for all.

Everyone regardless of background, age, gender, ability should have the same opportunities in life to explore and achieve. To support this ethos we believe in the social model of disability. In other words, disability is a socially created problem and it is up to all of us to make the environmental and attitudinal changes necessary to allow for the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of social life.  SNAP Cymru’s intention throughout the project has been to support play providers across Wales to consider the ways in which we all think about disability and impairment and how this can colour our decision making. We hope providers will see that they can develop a wide range of activities for children with different needs.

Last year we delivered 30 courses across Wales in twelve different counties and we will be delivering another 60 over the next two years. As well as delivering to different Local Authority play development teams, we have provided several sessions for PACEY for their registered Childminders and Early Years Providers across Wales, the GISDA Rhieni Ifanc project for young single parents in Gwynedd, other private nurseries and we are now forming a partnership with Cardiff City FC Foundation for staff and volunteer training for their inclusive football sessions.

We have been thrilled with the responses we have received so far. Here’s some feedback from participants:

“My outlook towards disability now completely different”

“The course has dramatically changed my approach to working with people with disabilities”, “I can now think of lots of different activities for children of all different abilities”

“Will now assess my own anxieties in regard to risk taking to allow a more healthy and inclusive approach”

“One of the activities was the most powerful activities I’ve ever taken part in – fantastic way to show importance of listening to families and & multi-agency communication”

We have three different courses we are running – ‘Disability Awareness’ (which can be accredited by Agored Cymru), ‘Healthy Risk Taking’ and ‘All Children Can Play’ – see our training page for further details on each.

The courses are free and can be delivered across Wales in both Welsh and English. They are particularly suited to new rather than experienced play workers and the courses can be adapted for all settings and age groups.

Please contact us at training@snapcymru.org or call 01554 778288 to book a course. Places are filling up fast and are limited, so contact us as soon as possible in order to secure sessions for your play workers.