Local after school Play Ranger scheme aims to get more youngsters playing outdoors

Play rangers, mums and kids at the session, held at Redrow Homes, The Heathfields, near Taunton.jpg

A new after school outdoor play scheme aimed at encouraging five to 16 year-olds to spend more time playing outside and making friends, has been launched this month at The Heathfields housing development off the Bridgewater Road in Monkton Heathfield.

Stonewater is delivering the scheme in partnership with Barnardo’s South West and Redrow Homes. The sessions which are for residents in the Redrow Homes Heathfields development, are being led by experienced Barnardo’s playworkers and include fun outdoor activities such as tree climbing, den building and hammock making as well as games like tag and hide-and-seek, team sports and arts and crafts. The initiative comes at a time when one in four British children spends less than 30 minutes playing outdoors a week.

“Playing outside is so important to children’s understanding and appreciation of their environment, respect for their neighbourhood and enjoyment of nature yet they play much less outside today than their parents and grandparents did,” explains Joanna-lee Barnard, Stonewater Development Officer. “These Play Rangers sessions aim to get children playing outdoors and having fun in a safe and challenging environment where they can make friends, learn new skills, improve their fitness, and engage with their community in a positive, responsible and rewarding way.”

The Play Ranger activities are being held in the central parkland of The Heathfields housing development on Wednesdays from 3.30pm to 5pm. Parents are also encouraged to get involved in the project which provides a great opportunity for them to meet and socialise with friends and neighbours in the community while their children play.

Commenting on the sessions, Greg Allsop, area Sales Manager for Redrow South West, says: “The aim of these sessions is to provide a safe and creative play space where kids can be inspired and encouraged to play and we are really proud to be supporting this fantastic initiative. Creating open spaces for recreation on our developments is always a key part of the designs and it’s great to see this area being taken full advantage of at The Heathfields.”

Stonewater owns a mix of 58 houses in the Monkton Heathfield development for shared ownership and social rent. The affordable housing provider is currently hoping to purchase a further 14 houses in The Heathfields development.

*Parents and carers retain responsibility for their children and children under five are not allowed if they are unaccompanied