Dad creates boardgame

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

A SINGLE dad has set up his own business designing and marketing an educational boardgame for infant schoolchildren.

A SINGLE dad has set up his own business designing and marketing an educational boardgame for infant schoolchildren.

Oliver Camidge, of St Marks Road, in Worle, gave up his job as an electroplater for an aircraft engine parts firm two years ago to look after his daughter Sophie, who is now six.

When she struggled to learn words on pieces of paper given to her at St Mark's Primary School, Oliver rustled up a dry wipe and invented a fun game to help.

The 29-year-old said: "She used to get bored learning the words parrot fashion so I made a simple game in about half an hour that allowed her to collect letters for the words she had to learn, which also helped her form her letters.

"It was from this simple game that we noticed a dramatic improvement in her reading and writing, and were encouraged by friends and family and even the school to take the idea further."

The game, called The Super Spellbinder, is for up to four players and follows the national curriculum aimed at children in reception, and years one and two.

Reversible so maths skills can be developed too, it can hold a variety of board game sheets and flash card packs which can be bought separately.

Initially the game comes with a double sided board game sheet for maths and literacy and a card pack aimed at reception children in the second half of their first school year.

The equipment is wipeable and allows children to write freehand instead of tracing.

Oliver, who was reliant on benefits when he developed the game, joined the Job Centre's New Deal scheme enabling him to access funding to produce 15 prototypes.

He trialled these at St Mark's and Mead Vale primary schools and took parents' comments on board.

He then contacted the Prince's Trust and with the help of mentor Gordon Poynter created a business plan and received a £1,800 loan and a £700 grant, which he is using to produce 250 final production games.

He said: "I feel the Princes Trust is confident my games will be a success, as it has invited me to attend ceremonies and conferences to display my work in order to get further interest."

During an event he met the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Pat McFadden, and the chairman of CarPhone Warehouse and the Prince's Trust, Charles Dunstone.

Oliver added: "The event went really well, I was asked by a senior press officer who updates the minister frequently to keep them up-to-date with progress.

"I am looking to make these games available to parents, in a similar way to that of the school photo system where order forms are sent home in the child's book bag and games are delivered to the child at school.

"Eventually it would be nice to see the add-on games and flash card packs be available to borrow from school libraries and I hope that parents will swap game sheets with fellow parents."

Oliver, who attended Mendip Green Infant School, has four schools interested in helping launch the games early next year with a nursery-age version available in the summer.

Capts - Oliver (right) meets Pat McFadden (left) and Charles Dunstone.

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