PlayBoard is the lead agency for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Northern Ireland. The agency works to improve the quality of children and young people’s lives through the provision of innovative services, all of which are designed to strengthen service delivery through information, support, training and tailored play provision. PlayBoard has come a long way since its formation in 1985. PlayBoard then was one of four UK national organisations set up under the auspices of the Association for Children’s Play and Recreation, a UK-wide group with responsibility for co-ordinating children’s play.
Based in Crescent Gardens Belfast, it was, in essence a small community-led organisation working primarily in the Greater Belfast area. In 1987, PlayBoard moved to premises in University Street, Belfast from where it launched itself as an independent, specialist play organisation in May 1990. Four more premises moves followed before the agency found its present home. In March 1991, PlayBoard moved to premises on Belfast’s Lisburn Road, in 1994 to Dargan Industrial Estate, in 1996 to York Street, and finally in 2010 to its current premises in Crescent Gardens.
Although the PlayBoard of the 21st century is many miles away from the original Association, it has remained true to its old aims and objectives. The aim of the Association for Children’s Play and Recreation was to encourage and promote the development of children through play and recreation. In addition, the Association’s objectives reflect the work of the current agency in that it set out to: