Lottery lolly will fund open-air play sessions

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FREE open-air play sessions are being launched in Bulwell — thanks to a £9,000 grant to a local charity from the National Lottery.

Bulwell Community Toy Library will run the project every Saturday, starting tomorrow, for children of pre-school age.

Entitled Bulwell Connects, it will run over the coming year. It will enable the youngsters to enjoy interesting activities like games, arts and crafts, drama and storytelling — all in the great outdoors.

The funding supports a survey, highlighted by the Dispatch, which shows that Nottingham has benefited considerably better from the Lottery than many other places, including Ashfield and Gedling.

The survey was carried out by the Industrial Community Alliance, which represents councils in the industrial areas of England, Scotland and Wales.

The toy library manager, Steve Parkinson, said: “Many families are coping on their own with a range of challenges. These could involve becoming a new parent and not knowing what to do with a lively toddler.

“Many people may find it hard to juggle quality time with their children and work commitments.

“We want Bulwell Connects to bring families together in a fun, friendly and natural way so that they can share problems they may have experienced.”

The scheme will enable the toy library, located at Norwich Gardens, to take advantage of being near a Nottingham City Council play area on the former Bulwell Hall Park cricket pitch.

Mr Parkinson pointed out that while it was easy for children to talk to each other and make friends, adults might need some support and encouragement to do the same thing — and he hoped Bulwell Connects would help meet this challenge.

He expressed the hope that the project would give children the best start to their education so that they could reach their full potential at school.

“As children’s brains develop rapidly from birth and through the earlyyers of life, pre-school age is a great time to help them start to learn,” he said. “We believe the project can prove of great benefit in the community.

“By playing with their children, parents can do a great deal to make sure their children do well at school and beyond.

“The project will help parents by giving them ideas, simple activities and games they can enjoy with their children as well as support.”

Formed more than 30 years ago, the toy library runs play sessions for children of various ages and has a home-visiting programme for ‘vulnerable and excluded’ families.

Anyone wanting to take part in the Bulwell Connects project is asked to get in touch with Mr Parkinson. You can phone him on 0115 9753898 or e-mail him at