More than 1,600 people across Torbay have benefited from an innovative play project since the start of lockdown.
Local charity Play Torbay has come together with Sanctuary Housing to deliver ‘Play Packs’ to children and their families who ordinarily attend face-to-face play sessions.
The packs include a range of scrap and craft materials that may usually end up as waste, along with instructions of fun things to make and do.
Participants in the project can access a weekly virtual session led by an experienced playworker, who will talk through using the pack to its full potential, as well as providing opportunities for the young people and their families to engage with each other.
If any families would prefer not to join in with the online session, the playworker can instead contact them directly with ideas of how to get the most out of the pack.
The hope is that the Play Packs will offer different, positive ways for families to interact in what can be a very stressful time, and spark young people’s imagination and creativity.
Tanny Stobart, director of Play Torbay, said: “It’s fantastic how the project has developed since the start of April. Feedback from families has included that they feel more connected to others, how valuable it’s been to feel useful, and that their mental health has been boosted.
“We are looking to continue the Play Packs over the next few months, and we hope that they’ll continue to provide a consistent source of practical and emotional support for local families.”
Sanctuary Housing’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, Lynne Roberts, added: “When lockdown first came into force, we were worried about the impact of removing the support measures for some of our residents, but Play Torbay has continued to provide that in a new, innovative way.
“They are also offering telephone support to families who may be struggling to cope, with signposting and referral to other services and support where that’s required.”
Anyone who feels they may benefit from being involved in the Play Pack project can contact Play Torbay by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.