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Friday, 4 December 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Bradford play charity aims to rebalance children’s lives through new initiative

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PREVIOUSLY known as Eccleshill Adventure Playground, children’s charity, Play Bradford, has supported the Eccleshill community by providing free hot meals to its most vulnerable children, through its recently launched initiative, the Platter Project.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Play Bradford has been the only operating adventure playground within the Bradford District and has worked relentlessly to adapt its original service to meet the current government guidelines. Operating at The Big Swing site, the charity’s recent initiative, the Platter Project has provided 152 of the community’s most disadvantaged children with nutritional meals and supported them to overcome challenges as they begin to reintegrate into everyday life.

The initiative is funded by a collective funding stream and sources its ingredients from local food banks and fair share programmes to help combat food poverty in the Bradford area. The Platter Project, also ensures that each meal is balanced and provides the children with the necessary nutrients to keep them fulfilled.

Janet Jewitt, Manager at Play Bradford said:

“Since reopening, we’ve noticed a massive shift in the children’s confidence and social skills. The lockdown period had a really negative effect on their physical, mental and social wellbeing due to being unable to play with their friends. This resulted in many of them being afraid of returning back to school and integrating with other children resulting in social anxiety.

“However, since launching the Platter Project we’ve seen the children come on leaps and bounds. Although we’ve had to reduce the size of our play sessions, it’s been interesting to see them become more engrossed in the activity they’re doing. The children have also developed even stronger relations with our playworkers, which has meant we’ve been able to understand the struggles and anxieties the pandemic has had on them.

Big Swing

“By being able to provide the children with a hot meal has been really beneficial not only to the child but for the wider family too. The Platter Project has enabled us to relieve some of the pressure on these family members and give the children an intrinsic role to play through creating and serving the meals.”

The Platter Project has enabled Play Bradford to host 51 adventure play sessions and provide 702 hot meals to disadvantaged children throughout the summer. The charity aims to maintain this service across the autumn and winter period, as they recognise that the initiative will act as vital support as the children transition back into school. This, however, is subject to ongoing available resources.

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