Cabinet has approved the Council’s Play Sufficiency Assessment (PSA) for 2019/20, which outlines the current activity and future plan to ensure children can access play opportunities. This includes #RCTinvest funding which has delivered £3.2m improvements across 100 outdoor play areas to date.
At their meeting on March 21, Members agreed for the PSA to be submitted to Welsh Government this month, as a statutory duty of all Local Authorities. The Council’s vision is that all young people in Rhondda Cynon Taf should be able to have fun, enjoy their childhood, pursue learning and develop skills through high-quality play, leisure, sporting and cultural provisions.
The current year (2018/19) represents the fourth year of #RCTinvest funding to improve outdoor play areas, and around 100 of the 215 facilities have been either improved or completely refurbished so far – thanks to £3.2m funding. In February 2019, Cabinet agreed a further £600,000 investment in outdoor play areas for 2019/20 which will take the Council’s investment into a fifth year – and this was subsequently agreed by Full Council on March 6.
Important activities are also carried out across numerous Council services throughout the year. These include the Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) and its ‘Your Voice’ survey, to consult with 6,000 people aged 11-25 over far-reaching issues. The Arts Service also provides opportunities for young people, closely linked with its theatres in Aberdare and Treorchy.
Sport RCT delivers comprehensive physical activity programmes to increase sustainable opportunities for well-being – and one of its key focuses is developing physical literacy skills for under-16s. The Council’s annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic engages with parents and pupils to promote the importance of play within Early Years – and this is attended by 3,000 people each year.
The 2019/20 PSA was compiled over six months, involving a number of partner organisations making up the PSA Working Group – including Early Years and Family Support, the Resilient Families Service, Leisure, Transport, Parks and YEPS.
The PSA highlights positive achievements to fully-meet criteria in a number of areas over the last year – including making space available for children to play including free outdoor provision, as well as changes for play, securing and developing the play workforce and community engagement and participation.
The Action Plan identifies key areas for improvement – including gathering and using data to target play opportunities, developing a quality assurance framework and to promote play opportunities across the County Borough.
Councillor Christina Leyshon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The PSA is an important statutory duty of all Councils, to submit to Welsh Government a review and action plan in relation to the play opportunities it provides young people. The 2019/20 PSA outlines a number of positive activities being undertaken across the Council, and Cabinet has now approved the document following consideration on Thursday.
“As part of the PSA, the Council carried out a consultation exercise across 24 schools and 12 play schemes running in the October 2018 half term. In total, 504 pupils took part in a questionnaire, so the Council could better understand young people’s opinions in relation to play – for example, where they enjoyed playing, how safe they felt and the things that would put them off playing in their community. This was a very worthwhile activity, and has provided useful indicators to inform the Action Plan going forward.
“Every child has the opportunity to access free outdoor play in local communities, which is why the Council continues to significantly invest in its facilities. We are very proud that 100 outdoor children’s play areas have been refurbished over the last four years thanks to £3.2m funding through #RCTinvest – and £600,000 funding has recently been agreed by Cabinet and Full Council to extend our funding into a fifth year in 2019/20.”
The Play Sufficiency Assessment and Action Plan for 2019/20 are available in full as part of an Officer report to Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.
Posted on Friday 22nd March 2019