Our Positive Play team provides high quality play provision in East Ayrshire, offering a range of services to statutory and community organisations.
The initiative aims to increase physical activity levels, encourage creativity and use play to build confidence and self-esteem. It was launched in 2008 and is jointly funded by East Ayrshire Council's Vibrant Communities and the Big Lottery Fund.
Positive Play works to influence the attitudes of children, parents, carers and the community of East Ayrshire by promoting the benefits and importance of play through the provision of the following services:
Play in prisons
The 2011 review carried out by the Scotland's Commissioner for children and young people, on the Not Seen, Not Heard, Not Guilty report (2008) highlights the rights and status of children of prisoners in Scotland. As a direct result of the recommendations put forward, the Scottish Prison Service published Good Practice Guidelines (2009) outlining the need for families to be more involved in the prisoners' lives.
One key recommendation from the report was to form strategic children and family groups to identify key areas of improvement and positive partnership opportunities in the delivery of services for children and families. EA Positive Play are represented on this group and assisted in securing 5 years funding through the Big Lottery to support/deliver family based initiatives within the prison.
Play and bonding sessions allow standard and enhanced prisoners to spend quality play time with their family. The sessions use play as a medium to increase interaction and improve relationships between prisoners and their families. These informal, relaxed sessions provide free play activities for the prisoner to connect with their families.
Family bookshare allows fathers to maintain meaningful connections with their children whilst in prison. The prisoners have the opportunity to work on their reading skills and confidence with reading aloud. They choose age and stage appropriate books and record the story onto a CD which is sent home. It helps maintain the family bond.
Events take place during school holiday periods. These events are larger in scale and take place in a more relaxed and less intimidating environment for the families. Events are planned taking into consideration time of year such as Easter. The team work with partner agencies such as Cash for Kids and Centrestage to help provide meaningful activities.
Supporting children and vulnerable families
The team supports children, young people and families to develop skills, confidence and increase involvement in community activities and clubs throughout East Ayrshire. They provide:
- direct support to children and young people within the Children's Houses, enabling them to attend community based activities.
- training and volunteering opportunities to encourage active citizenship and effective learning
- play@home sessions for families which develop practical play skills, confidence and relationships, leading to participation in community based activities
- specific training and support to vulnerable families to build positive relationships, positive play, bonding and healthy lifestyle choices