Play organisation nets 10,000 Euro

Michelle Furphy, Director of NI at Play and manager of Drumellan Children and Young People's Centre, Sharon Donnelly and Caroline Kerr, both from NI at Play, and John Laverty of NIPSA. INLM47-010
Michelle Furphy, Director of NI at Play and manager of Drumellan Children and Young People's Centre, Sharon Donnelly and Caroline Kerr, both from NI at Play, and John Laverty of NIPSA. INLM47-010

A LOCAL play organisation has netted a cash windfall of 10,000 Euro from the Coca-Cola Ireland Thank You Fund.

NI at Play was established in December 2009 by Caroline Kerr from Lurgan and Sharon Donnelly from Armagh who had a passion for children’s outdoor play.

Caroline told the ‘MAIL’: “It’s just phenomenal for us. I can’t believe that such a small organisation like ourselves was up against so many big organisations and made the final shortlist.

“The awards ceremony in Dublin was a lovely day out.”

NI at Play is a social enterprise and registered charity set up to provide children with opportunities to engage in outdoor play. Caroline and Sharon had previously worked for Playboard on an outdoor play project.

“The funding came to an end and we released people still needed advice and help on how to get kids active and outdoors in a way that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money,” said Caroline.

“That’s why we set up NI at Play to pass on our experience and knowledge. The aim of NI at Play is to inspire staff and children to engage more readily with the outdoors whether through arts and crafts, team games or role play.”

Caroline added: “We’ve been given the cheque for 10,000 Euro but we’re going to wait until the lighter evenings come in around March before we start spending the money on improving outdoor play for children in Craigavon.

“In the meantime we’ll be meeting with parents, schools and other groups to raise the profile of the project.

“The plan is to go out in Craigavon every two weeks. We’ll be looking for match funding as well and maybe we’ll be able to put on outdoor activities every week.”