Play pod funding to run out

PUBLISHED: 06:48 15 November 2010

A PLAY scheme in North Somerset could be scrapped next year if further funding is not found.

Play pods can be found in Worle, Banwell and Yatton and give children access to activities run by North Somerset play rangers.

There are six of the containers situated on playing fields around North Somerset and they have proved popular since being introduced in June 2008 thanks to a £342,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

However, this money will come to an end in March and after that the future of the project is uncertain, as is the future of the six play rangers and one play development worker employed under the scheme.

A play pod is a lockable metal box full of den building materials, circus skills kit, sports equipment and art and craft materials. It also includes seating, tables and outdoor shelter equipment for rainy days.

The pods are aimed at 10-14-year-olds and are opened up by the play rangers, who go to each site twice a week to coordinate activities.

They are situated at Castle Batch in Worle, Banwell Recreation Ground and at Hangstones Pavilion in Yatton. There are also pods in Nailsea, Clevedon and Pill.

In the hope of keeping hold of the play pods and play rangers, the town and parish councils for these places have been asked if they would take on the funding of the scheme.

If these councils do not want to take them on, the boxes may be moved to areas where the councils are willing to pay for them.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for children and young people’s service Jeremy Blatchford said: “When the project was set up we contacted a number of town and parish councils to see if they would like one.

“They were aware at the start that they would have the opportunity to take them over next year.

“We do not have the money in our budget to continue funding.

“The indication is that the pods have been very successful in some places. In others it has not been that easy to judge.

“This is a good opportunity for town or parish councils to do something that is affordable and makes a difference for their youngsters.”

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