Play Nurture

Sometimes children need more help than we can offer them during a busy community play session. This is why we have developed our more targeted support which we call Play Nurture. It is how we help children impacted by adverse childhood experiences to cope with adversity and build resilience using the incredible power of play.

The child-led outdoor play is aimed at children whose physical health, emotional health and childhood well-being are impacted by anxiety and stress, either as a result of the social and emotional challenges of everyday childhood, or because they are facing complex psychological and physical difficulties that make them particularly vulnerable.

Our Director of Play, Pip Levett, has a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills and leads our Play Nurture. Our core team of Play Rangers have undertaken training in Counselling Skills for Working with Children with Place2Be, as well as other training in play work and specific aspects of therapeutic play including Lego based therapy.

There are three main ways that we support children with our Play Nurture work, outlined below.

Play Sanctuary

The Play Sanctuary is our own safe, private and nurturing play space where children can connect with our Play Rangers and build their resilience. In 2020, thanks to funding from the Postcode Local Trust, we opened the doors to our Play Sanctuary. The Play Sanctuary is intended for use with our Play Nurture work. It is a purpose built, private space featuring a mud kitchen, a den building area, a fire pit, a sand pit and a structure for hammocks and swings, located within our office space in the heart of Gloucester. It is also a great training space and can be used for meetings with people and organisations working to support children and young people.

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B, age 9 and her Mum

“We honestly can’t thank you enough. B has really looked forward to these sessions every week, she has loved every minute & getting to know you all. B says she is so grateful that she was able to take part in these play sessions & loved every minute. She would like to thank everyone for their time & for helping her to learn new skills. She has made some new friends & will miss you all very much.”

Parent

“She has so much more confidence now she isn’t afraid to try new things and if she can’t do it she will try again and again. Thank you for being patient and understanding with her and giving her the time and space to play.”

Alex, aged 10

“The Play Sanctuary is great, the fire, the games, the indoor bit, the sandpit is all brilliant. There are too many good things about The Play Sanctuary to decide which is the best bit”.

Play Nurture for Groups and Individuals

Our Play Rangers deliver individual sessions and small Play Nurture Groups in places and spaces across the county. Our Play Nurture work provides children with the time and space to take part in child-led outdoor play and benefit from its restorative and healing qualities. Active and creative play activities including den building, sports, arts and crafts and camp fire cooking provide children with adventures, friendship and fun alongside our Play Rangers and Play Dogs.

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G, Child in Care

“The Play Rangers here are very supportive and nurturing. They nurture us like we’re newborns. It’s just so good that we don’t want it to end”

Foster Carer

“This was really, really positive for our family. When she comes back, she’s happy, been in the great outdoors, lit the fire, cooked lunch, played with the others, all very positive for her self-esteem. That bit of independence but I’m knowing there’s someone truly professional at the back of her keeping an eye on things”.

K, Young Carer

“Play Nurture helps me with my anxiety. I know I can trust you and come here and be myself. I feel safe”

Stepping Out

Stepping Out is a playful, socially distanced walk around children’s home communities either individually or in small groups with our Play Rangers. Its key features are that it is community based, socially distanced / Covid safe and is accessible – children will not need transport, it is free and the Play Rangers provide the essentials in terms of wet weather gear, healthy picnics and are trusted adults for children to talk with. Stepping Out can be used to help children become more physically active and improve their mental wellbeing through improved social connections, a chance to talk and doing something fun.

Mum of 8 year old

“I just wanted to send a huge thank you for Stepping Out. E was practically glowing with happiness when he came home, he had so much fun”.

Kerry, aged 13

“This gives you exercise and helps your mental health. Children always need help with their mental health. Covid has made it worse for us.”

Tyler, 12

“This is good exercise and fun as well. And it gets me off my PlayStation.”

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