Hundreds of excited youngsters flocked to the 40th annual Leyland Playscheme this week.
Now based at the BTR playing fields off Centurion Way, after relocating from Worden Park, more than 30,000 children have enjoyed the scheme over the years, and more than 5,000 volunteers (mainly aged between 15 to 21), have benefitted from the experience.
With activities such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and days out including ten-pin bowling, ice-skating, swimming, raft-building, orienteering and archery, the Playscheme attracts children and teens aged from five to 14.
Director Ian Bruce said: “Leyland Playscheme is pretty unique in its character, its operation and in the way it has long-lasting and enduring impacts and memories.
“Especially in recent times, the world is changing; traditional play has taken a back seat to the modern influences in society, but Playscheme brings this back.
“It is all about learning through play and it literally changes the lives of both children and volunteers.
“Over the years the Playscheme has never said ‘no’ to accepting a child irrespective of any disability or impairment. We have also worked with other organisations to facilitate unique timetables that offer small respite where that is more suited to a child’s needs.
“In addition to the Playschemes in Leyland we are also responsible for the management and inception of more than 20 other schemes ranging from Middleton and Chorley, to the highly successful Samlesbury scheme which we still manage today.
“Volunteers for the scheme come from all walks of life and there is evidence of reduced youth crime and nuisance during the Playscheme weeks.
“For the volunteers it is not an easy role though; it is quite possibly one of the most demanding tasks that will be asked of many of the people involved.
“Days are long (8.30am until 6pm) and it is full of activity. Many of our most amazing volunteers are those who would be least expected to perform well - they may have had a difficult time in life and the nurturing and belonging of Playscheme has the most profound impact on them.”
He added: “It is often said by visitors that they have seen nothing quite like it in both its scale and its atmosphere, and I would agree.
“That’s why we’re still going strong, 40 years down the line.”
- See Tuesday’s Leyland Guardian for more photos from this year’s Playscheme week.