On Sunday the 20th of May it was the Sunday Funday at Fosseway School in Radstock, Bath. This event was organised by myself and Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Play Team in support of families in the area that have children with disabilities. It was proposed and funded by the Aiming High Parents and Carers Group, which consists of parents and carers that have children with special needs. The preparation for the day I fitted in around university commitments and my various jobs, and I enjoyed planning and bringing everything together for the Council and the several volunteers I had managed to get in on the fun.

The day was grey and chilly but it wasn’t wet, that was the main thing – we had things planned that would have to be moved inside if it decided to rain and we wanted as much of the activities to be outside as possible. We had the Wheels For All bikes with Chris Revill on the school’s turning circle. Woodland crafts with Barney Farnham was up on the field under a magical tree, nearby was Denbuilding with scrap materials in the ASD playground, a bouncy castle supplied by Bouncers and under a gazebo was an interesting selection of messy-play with Karen Fleming. In the main playground there was junk-modelling on cushions and arts n’ crafts at a table and a colourful mix of P.E equipment at the other side. And last-but-not-least, the face-painters were under a gazebo in the corner. One of our kind volunteers Helen Wiltshire had made a fab selection of cakes and cookies, which were free of charge inside the main hall accompanied by teas and coffees kindly supplied by Midsomer Norton Sainsburys. The Family Information Service stall was positioned at the entrance along with registration, so we could record who was coming to the day and what schools those children attended. This day was useful in telling us as a service, who we were reaching and who we weren’t. Some children came with their families, which was lovely and a great chance for the mums, dads and grandparents to play with the children, using various opportunities of play. But some children did come without their guardians and siblings, which was a shame when the whole point of it was to bring families that are in similar situations together for fun with the kids in their care, but also providing the information about the services available.

The day had a steady flow of people, some faces I recognised from my own settings, and some of those who I didn’t know I managed to have a chat with and answer any questions or problems they had. I really enjoyed this part of the Funday, just communicating with amazing families who have been through so much yet are strong and positive, laughing with their kids and just chilling out. It was great seeing children interacting with their parents and not just with us Playworkers, a few times I encouraged this when the parents may have assumed I was going to entertain their children. I floated around making sure all the volunteers were happy, or needed a break and enjoyed all the wonderful play that was taking place. Dens were going up and becoming more interesting with layers and hammocks, the woodland crafts was busy with kids sat around the pretty tree making bracelets with their parents out of natural materials. The Wheels For All was very popular, Chris just couldnt catch a break! These bikes are fantastic, they’re designed specially so that they can be pedalled using arms, some have bigger seats with head support, bigger seats, 3 wheels or 4. I watched siblings standing on the back as the drivers sped round the circuit. I had put some little cones out that I got from the Children’s Scrapstore and the bikes were weaving in and out. The children apparently weren’t that excited about the messy-play, which consisted of custard (made without sugar), a tray of  ‘slime’ and sand. Some children had a go, but didn’t stay long. Maybe it was the weather- it wasn’t too warm and when the kids have wet hands they may have felt uncomfortable. Maybe it was down to the other exciting stuff happening around them so were distracted easily! Some of the children were happy to wander around and take it all in, whilst others were running up to their families with creations they had made or their faces painted like a cows, pirates and angels!

I hope to do something like this again, i’d love to organise something along with a team, like a street-play day or a face-paint-athon 🙂 but what ever I do, its just the best feeling providing a fun day out for the families and to most importantly promote the importance of play!

To finish this one, I’d like to say a huge thank you to –

Chris Revill, Karen Fleming and the Play Team for being supportive and letting me get involved with the planning- Bharti Baron, Matthew Pepper, Robyn Gould, Helen Wiltshire, Andrew Turner, Mary-Jane, Nicky and Ian Valentine, Laura Friend and Coral Shepstone – who kindly volunteered on the day and it wouldn’t have happened without them. I’m lucky to have such passionate fellow Playworkers! And finally, thank you to Hannah Jones from Fosseway School for allowing it to happen at this perfect venue and helping to get everything organised.

Enjoy the sunshine peeps.