If you asked a child what was most important to them, what would they say? Through talking with many of our local children we can tell you – it would be play!
Our team here in the Bridgeton and Dalmarnock area have committed ourselves to acting on what we hear from local children and families, helping to catalyse ideas for solutions and convening the right people around the table to create action. So to start off with, Lizzie (Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fellow) and Nancy (Local Co-ordinator) went on a walk around the local neighbourhood, led by local children. We have held two walkabouts so far, with two more to come. We engaged children who are in the older age bracket in primary school, as some of the younger children said they were not allowed out to play without parental supervision.
The children were armed with cameras as they led their walks towards wherever it is that they play and spend their free time. They talked through which bits they liked and what they would like to see in their area, or even just where it needed tidying up!
The discussions with children so far have been very different depending on where about they live and play. Some children had great opportunities in their area for imaginative play; hills to hide behind, trees to climb and places to run and kick a ball.
Others we have found, have play areas that are currently (worryingly) unsafe to use, with large areas covered in broken glass or rubbish, next to derelict land and next to busy roads. We also noted the differing needs of children; some would like an area for space or specific games such as football or bicycle tracks, and some would like a more interesting landscape to make up their own games around.
So what’s next?
- Keep walking! We have two more walkabouts to complete with children. After this we will have an overview of the whole neighbourhood. And an insight into what it’s like for children in this area, where they currently play and spend time with friends.
- We will draw together what we have learned from our walkabout sessions, collages and the pictures which children have been creating about where they play and the photos they have been taking.
- Display the children’s hard work and perspective with the attendees of our launch on the 9th We hope this will raise awareness and stimulate more discussion
- We will bring this information to our partners. , we are very lucky to have some extremely talented, enthusiastic and experienced partners in the area who we think will be able to support the children to develop their ideas further.
- We will develop a joint funding bid to enable some of their ideas to be brought to life.
Knowledge Exchange and Impact Officer