Play Scotland is the lead organisation for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Scotland. We work to make the child’s right to play a reality so that all children can reach their full potential and be able to confidently inhabit an inclusive public realm.
Play Scotland is an Unfeartie because we uphold the child’s right to play at the core of all the work we do. We work with partners to deliver play opportunities for children and young people all over Scotland.
This summer we were fortunate to be a Strategic Partner with the Scottish Government to deliver a number of projects as part of the Get into Summer programme. As part of our Play Strategy Review 2021, we had asked children and young people what they needed to recover after COVID-19. Children and young people had told us that after lockdowns, missing school and not being able to socialise normally, they needed lots of activities to help them reconnect with friends and have fun in their communities. They wanted a Summer of Play. The Scottish Government listened to these and other messages from children and young people and provided funding for the “Get into Summer” programme – a range of projects delivered through local authorities and Strategic Partners.
Play Scotland developed a Play Well Outdoors Pack with Save the Children and the Beano which is a free offer to all primary school children in Scotland. We also worked with Early Years Scotland and ScrapAntics to provide free play sessions in Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway and Dundee. The Get into Summer programme supported thousands of children and young people to have fun with friends and family, play and socialise. Our other Get into Summer projects included partnerships with Learning through Landscapes to improve transitions to Secondary School, work with Living Streets to make streets safer for play and Generations Working Together to link early years settings with care homes to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing.
As part of the COP26 Conference, Play Scotland are delivering “Moths to a Flame” sessions with children’s groups to highlight environmental issues. This exciting new project is recording children’s messages to world leaders and these will provide the soundscape to an amazing exhibition of 20,000 moths made by children across Scotland. We hope this project will contribute to a greener understanding of the child’s right and need to play.
As well as upholding Article 31 which says that children have the right to have fun and play, Play Scotland also defend Article 12 and Article 15 and are currently working with the Scottish Government to ensure that children and young people have their say on matters that affect them. The new Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 says that children and young people have to be consulted on community plans and that their views must be taken into account. It also places a Statutory Duty on Local Authorities to carry out a Play Sufficiency Assessment to ensure that they are providing good enough play opportunities for children and young people. This includes disabled children and children with other support needs. We will be consulting with children and young people about the new guidance for the Planning Act in Autumn/Winter 2021.
(Pictured: Clare Haughey, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People, meeting with Young Families in Queens Park during the “Get into Summer” Programme.)