East Antrim primary school children have been helping to shape a newly launched play initiative.
Pupils from Larne and Carrickfergus schools joined the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE at the ‘Out to Play’ unveiling at Dixon Park, Larne.
Speaking at the picturesque setting, Cllr Wales said: “Play is extremely important in keeping our children fit and healthy, physically and mentally.
“Play has been proven to increase imagination, improve social skills, reduce stress and improve physical skills including strength, coordination and balance, so it is a major focus for council.”
At the beginning of 2017, council extended an invitation to schools to get involved in consultation around ‘Out to Play’ and six were chosen: St Anthony’s PS, Gracehill PS; Glynn PS; Braidside Integrated PS; Carrickfergus Central PS and Millquarter PS.
Participants worked alongside facilitator Dawn Aston and enjoyed outdoor workshops and creative sessions to identify what they like about their area, what they think could be improved and how young people spend their free time.
Cllr Wales added: “The strategy is being developed by talking to and working with children, parents, the local community and partner organisations and always checking back to ensure we are doing it right. Play also benefits the community by involving children in creative and positive activities, helping reduce anti-social behaviour and reducing the risk of crime.
“Play facilities become a focal point for the community, families are better supported and young people are helped to prepare for adult life. The pupils created a wonderful display to showcase their thoughts which was presented at the launch event. The pupil’s opinions are very important to us and will help shape the strategy.”
Interested parties can complete a short survey online at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/meaplay