The Children and Young People’s Partnership of Anglesey County Council has been key to maintaining the momentum of the Fair Share Trust’s investments in play. The purpose of the Partnership is to promote the welfare and opportunities of children and young people on the island to enable them to achieve their potential in life. So, in line with the Anglesey Faire Share Trust panel’s revised business plan, it funded to employ a Play Development Officer for the island.
Siwan Owens joined the Council in 2011. Since then she has been responsible for developing, implementing, monitoring and reviewing the county’s play strategy. Supported by expert panel members, and acting as a co-ordinator and manager for a range of other projects and networks (including the Big Lottery funded Play Rangers project), Siwan worked at both strategic and neighbourhood levels, bringing expertise and pragmatism to progress policies and help galvanise local energy.
A key part of her work has been to work closely with communities to support them in the implementation of Fair Share Trust funded projects, and to build the capacity of communities across the island to support children’s play. In particular, she achieved council approval of the Play Strategy, and was then given the task of running the Fair Share Trust’s 2012 small grants programme, which involved launching and promoting the programme, and then working with community groups to submit applications to the Faire Share Trust local panel.
Recently, Welsh Government has introduced a Play Sufficiency Assessment to provide local authorities with the evidence needed to identify both strengths and shortcomings in play provision and help them to develop action plans to address any gaps.
Siwan has already completed Anglesey’s Play Sufficiency Assessment and convened a committed cross-departmental working group to drive forward the resulting Action Plan.
Thanks to her hard work the accessibility of play activities and facilities on the island has been increased and the range of environments and opportunities for play extended. She has established the idea that ‘playable space’ refers to ALL community space (not just play areas) where the consideration of children’s needs and input plays a critical part. And she has ensured that local community groups and community councils have been given the guidance to make their play spaces and play activities a success.
As a result of the value of the role of the Play Development Officer at both a strategic and a pragmatic community level, further funding has been achieved by the Council to secure this post for the next three years.
“If it wasn’t for meeting Siwan I don’t think we could have got the ball rolling. [She has] been supportive and helped guide me throughout the process, given me information, links and ideas throughout and helped drive the process forward” Nia Roberts, Parc Ffrindiau Pandy