Play group nets significant funding

A LOCAL organisation, whose aim is to promote outdoor play, stand to net a major funding award.

NI at Play, based in Lurgan, are guaranteed a cash windfall of 10,000 Euro from Coca-Cola Ireland Thank You Fund.

However, they are one of 11 groups who could inherit an even bigger grant of 25,000 Euro.

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.

It is a social enterprise and registered charity set up to provide children with opportunities to engage in outdoor play.

At the minute the charity is based at Caroline’s home in Lurgan, making visits to schools and youth groups, but the aim is to expand into a designated outdoor play space.

Caroline said: “The aim is to encourage children to come out and play in the Central Craigavon area.

“With the funding we will be able to offer evening, outdoor play sessions to children in the Craigavon area and involve parents by organising a tour of adventure playgrounds in London to see for themselves what is possible.

“If we got the top award we would use it to deliver outdoor play sessions in a designated site in Craigavon, two evenings every two weeks, from September to November 2012, and March to May 2013. The second part of the project is to arrange a study visit for a small group of parents to London’s Adventure Playgrounds to show the structures and positive play opportunities children can access in these spaces.”

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 thanked everyone who voted online to help NI at Play get to this stage of the funding process.

They will find out who will get the top prize of 25,000 Euro at a ceremony in Dublin on November 14. The minimum amount NI at Play will receive is 10,000 Euro.