Participants of the Play Shaper programme gathered at Parliament Buildings, Stormont recently to discuss their experiences, the impact the programme has made and discuss next steps.

Play Shaper is a programme of professional play development and training which aims to help a range of stakeholders who directly or indirectly influence play, understand the importance of play and leisure and their role in creating play-friendly and child friendly communities. Play Shaper has been operating over the past year and is a core element of the Play Matters project, funded through the EITP and delivered by PlayBoard in collaboration with the Department of Education’s Children and Young People’s Strategy Team.

Attendees at the event which included representatives from councils, community and voluntary organisations and government departments, had the opportunity to hear directly from some of the programme participants on the impact the programme made to them both personally and professionally and to their work in local communities.

Programme Feedback:

“Play Shaper has been critical in changing perceptions of the importance of play … and its role in addressing the issues we are facing as a collective community planning group.”

– Council Officer

“I found the Play Shaper training very beneficial both personally and professionally. The sessions were informative and generated new discussions … we are encouraged by the interest of local community groups and are looking forward to supporting their ideas.”

– PSNI Officer

“The sessions provided Council with an opportunity to assess how effective our play policies and strategies have been to date and what new thinking is required to improve the services we can provide to children and young people.”

– Local Councillor

“The Play Shaper training was excellent and helped us better understand the value of play. We look forward to encouraging play in communities, viewing it as a key component to improving life outcomes.”

– Community Representative

Pictured at the Play Shaper seminar are participants Denise McVeigh, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Keith McCann, Regenerate and Trevor Currans, Education Authority, with PlayBoard’s Angie McCabe.