First round of Children's Play money announced
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First round of Children's Play money announced

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The first round of investment from the Big Lottery Fund's (BLF) Children's Play programme has been announced, with £13.5m being granted to play groups and local authorities across England.

The £155m scheme is the largest ever investment in children's play, and is broken down into three areas – Children's Play (£124m), Playful Ideas – a strand which rewards innovative and alternative approaches to play provision (£16m) – and the Play England scheme (£15m), which has been established to disseminate best practice and assist the play sector in maximising funding opportunities.

The release of £12m to 32 projects in Children's Play strand and £1.46m to nine projects in the Playful Ideas strand, represents the first allocation, as the previous round of funding applications required modification to meet BLF's criteria, many of which have now been approved.

In the Children's Play strand, Brent Children’s Play Service has secured funding worth £741,336 to deliver four projects including an adventure play centre with adapted equipment for children with disabilities, a mobile play project, a specialist play centre for children with special needs and a play equipment store.

In the Playful Ideas programme, the Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change project was awarded £235,000 for purchasing four containers of interchangable play equipment, which will operate as a 'swap shop' for local estates. A play development worker will also be recruited to run the scheme.

Sir Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "This funding is a fantastic investment for children, their families and communities.

"With the right play provision, we hope that people will feel confident to allow their children to play beyond the home and to enjoy the wealth of benefits that play brings."

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The first round of investment from the Big Lottery Fund's Children's Play programme has been announced, with £13.5m being granted to play groups and local authorities across England.
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