Local pair relishing life at helm of outdoor charity

NI at Play staff, Emmer Donnelly, Caroline Kerr and Sharon Donnelly. INLM27-127gc
NI at Play staff, Emmer Donnelly, Caroline Kerr and Sharon Donnelly. INLM27-127gc

Two local women are at the helm of a charity which looks to promote outdoor play for children.

Caroline Kerr and Sharon Donnelly started up NI at Play three years ago. They explained to The Mail what motivated them to do so.

“We saw there was a need for children to get more outside play, so we started up the charity to promote outdoor play for youth groups, nurseries, day nurseries and after school clubs,” Caroline
said.

NI at Play promote a range of activities for children. There is den building, painting, arts and crafts, games, jewellery making and anything else the children want to do.

“NI at Play are active all year. We would be booked solid over the summer from summer schemes but we would go into schools during the year and promote the ‘school skipping challenge’.

“We go into day nurseries and after school groups all year round,” Caroline said.

“We got funding for some waterproofs so we bring those with us and encourage kids to go out even when it’s raining.”

They operate an ‘open access‘ policy, which means children are free to come and go as they please.

Parents are also able to take part. Caroline and Sharon say they are joined by an impressive turnout of around 15 to 20 children per week.

“The response from parents has been very positive. They’ve seen it as something their kids are enjoying and they think its beneficial for them as well.” Caroline said.

“We allow children to make a mess and they don’t have to clean it up.” Sharon joked.