HAILSHAM: Wealden’s play project praised as outstanding

THE Big Lottery Fund has congratulated Wealden Active Play for its success in bringing free, inclusive play activities to children and young people across Wealden, describing the project as ‘outstanding’.

Wealden District Council and Freedom Leisure have worked together on the Active Play project for the past three years, engaging more than 7,000 children and young people in a wide variety of activities including arts and crafts, drama workshops, football, cricket, badminton, and even a giant game of Connect Four.

The team took the activities to a wide range of local events such as Wealden Play Days, Safety Days, the Hailsham Active Communities Festival, Horam Fun Day, and Alderbrook and Parklands residents’ Fun Days.

In addition, they helped organise street football leagues in Heathfield and Crowborough, as well as the ‘Airtime’ project, where young people were able to film themselves performing skate tricks and edit the footage into short films.

The children and young people gave their feedback after each event and this was used to adapt and improve the range and quality of activities on offer.

The Active Play project’s aims were to increase access to active play activities for children and young people, improve the variety and quality of those activities, and involve participants in the design and delivery of the project to make sure it met their needs.

The Big Lottery Fund assessed the project as ‘outstanding’ on all of these three objectives.

“We are very pleased the Big Lottery Fund has recognised the success of the Active Play project,” said Peter Griggs, head of public health and community services at Wealden District Council.

“The events have been very popular and a huge number of children and young people have benefited from a variety of experiences designed to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.

“I congratulate the team and thank our partners for all their hard work in making the project such a success.”

Freedom Leisure’s managing director Jeff Hart said, “We have been delighted to have been involved with the Active Play project in partnership with Wealden District Council. It has been fantastic and has provided access to play activities in communities right across Wealden.

“We are really pleased to be able to continue with this project and further develop the work.”

Wealden District Council and Freedom Leisure ran the Active Play project jointly until November last year, and although the Big Lottery grant has now ended, Freedom Leisure will continue to provide a smaller Active Play service supporting events across Wealden.