By Harry Mottram: Many people of a certain age will often look back at their long summer holidays from school as some of the happiest days of the lives – because of the amount of time they had to simply play. In their back gardens, in parks and playgrounds, in organised summer camps or simply in the street playing ‘it’, hopscotch, catch or kiss chase. And play is important when you are growing up – and it is so vital that it is included under the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child, that children have the right to play in their own community.
The Good Play Guide sums up the benefits: “When school’s out for summer, children have a unique opportunity to explore their imagination and creativity. With lots of free time and a break from school routines, the long holiday becomes a blank canvas for children to unleash their imagination and go on exciting adventures.”
In short you don’t need to go to Florida or Disney Land to enjoy the pleasures of play – they can be accessed on you doorstep – or in the case of the students of Three Ways School in Bath with the Bath Area Play Project (BAPP) Holiday Playscheme.
The Bath MP Wera Hobhouse helped to highlight this invaluable scheme when she visited the school on Tuesday the 25th of July. The Bath Area Play Project (BAPP) Holiday Playscheme is for disabled children aged 5 to 19 years based at Three Ways School. The programme is funded through the Council commission for Short Breaks and provides a holiday club open to children from across the Bath Community.
Bath Area Play Project (B.A.P.P) is a local voluntary organisation and registered charity that was established in 1979 to offer and promote quality play opportunities for school-age children during school holidays. Since its inception, B.A.P.P has hosted thousands of children, who have enjoyed one of their open-access holiday playschemes, playdays, and family play sessions.
During her visit, Wera Hobhouse MP learned about the work B.A.P.P does for the local community. The Project’s playworkers support families with SEND children aged 5 to 19 years, using whole family support and play as a process of engagement and support to develop stronger family bonds.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to visit the Bath Area Play Project at Three Ways School. Witnessing firsthand the incredible work that is being done to support families and children during the summer holidays was truly an honour. It is heartwarming to see how the Project’s playworkers are using a child-centred and Think Family approach, ensuring that the voice of the child is not only heard but responded to, followed and supported. B.A.P.P is crucial to help improve the quality of life for those who, due to disabilities and additional needs, often miss out on so many fun and enriching experiences that others may take for granted. I am grateful to everyone involved in this wonderful initiative for their dedication and hard work.”
Project Director, Caroline Haworth MBE, commented: “We are grateful to be given the opportunity to raise some of the issues facing families with children with SEND. We are fortunate that B&NES Council commissions this much valued service as it provides a lifeline for so many families. Play is a right for all children and we are proud that our Specialist Playworkers ensure SEND children have these opportunities.”
For more on BAPP see https://www.bapp.org.uk/
For more on Three ways School visit https://threeways.co.uk/
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