Mission of the Month: Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground

A Big Thankyou from all at the Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP)

We are so grateful for the financial help from Iffley Church. Your money has gone towards new swings because we have had to replace the wood which was getting old.

A picture of Terry, one of our volunteers, with some of the children and one of the new swings in the background. As well as volunteering every Friday to help the children with football, supervise them on the trampoline, or just chat to them, Terry has helped design our website (almost ready!). Our numbers are growing and with the appointment of Sarah Wain as Play and Project Leader and Chantel Clifford and Maesun John as Assistant Play Leaders we are going from strength to strength. The children love the Gold Awards that are given for especially kind or thoughtful behaviour and for learning new skills. Many spend as much time as possible outside which means they are getting much needed exercise in the fresh air. This is important in an area where the obesity rate at the end of junior school is 28%. On wet days they have snooker and table football and arts and crafts indoors. They also have the chance to cook, often with ingredients from the food bank or food grown in our garden. We also give them a daily snack as you will see in the picture.

As we said in our previous Mission of the Month entry in the church magazine, we are open during nine weeks of school holidays from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and after school every day from 3.15 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. for 8- to 13-year-olds. A small charge is made for attending but no child is excluded because their parents
cannot afford to pay this.

With November’s Mission of the Month money the children thought it would be a nice idea to use this for the next big trip, either to cover the cost for those children whose parents cannot afford this or to top up the cost for children whose parents cannot afford the whole amount. (This summer they chose to go to Thorpe Park, which was quite expensive.)

A Big Ask
We know we are making a real difference to the children who come regularly after school. They are making new friends and also learning to trust and share things with the staff and volunteers. We really need extra volunteers willing to spend a few hours each week at BLAP helping to supervise and getting to know our children. We are not able to offer gardening or time up the tree house as often as the children would like because we have lots of children but not enough adults to man all areas of the playground. We welcome visitors so if anyone would like to come and see us at work they would be very welcome. We organize any necessary training for volunteers. In order to protect the children we DBS check all volunteers and ask for a reference. Would anyone at Iffley Church like to pop in once a week to help supervise or listen to the children or help plant the garden or perhaps help with an art project? We are also looking for a small group willing to help with grant applications or some of the admin work we have to do. Would anyone like to join this group?

If anyone wishes to volunteer in any capacity please phone Sarah Wain our Play Leader on 01865 236646 or talk to Gail McLintock who worships with you and is our treasurer.

Sue Price
Secretary to the Management Committee, Administrator and Fundraiser