Posted on Tuesday 11th September

A project funded by Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has been keeping thousands of children safe across Runcorn and Widnes this summer.

David Keane allocated a small grant from his Safer Communities Fund to a local play scheme which works to reduce anti-social behaviour by keeping children active during their summer break.

Halton Play Council runs two sessions daily for children aged five to 12 providing them with a safe, secure environment to play. The sessions run from Holy Spirit and Murdishaw West primary schools in Runcorn and Hough Green Scout Hut and St Peter & Paul High School in Widnes.

The OFSTED registered play scheme offers a range of activities to keep children motivated and active. The funding from the commissioner has enabled the scheme to offer additional sessions from external visitors including circus and dance classes and sports clubs.

The play workers at the scheme encourage the children to develop good life skills and social responsibility, while accepting differences and ensuring they work together. The children attending are asked to write rules of what they feel is acceptable behaviour.

The commissioner visited the play scheme at Holy Spirit Primary School with local PCSO Paul Barker to see for himself how the project is helping keep children across Halton safe.

David said: “I am pleased that my Safer Communities Fund has been able to support this vital project which keeps children across Halton safe during their summer break.

“The fund is available to organisations and community groups that work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and it’s clear to see the positive impact this project is having on keeping young people away from trouble.

“It was fantastic to see first-hand how this project is making a difference to local children and how the local PCSO, Paul Barker, is working with the children to ensure they stay safe.”

Manager of Halton Play Council, Joyce Reilly, added: “The funding from the police and crime commissioner and support from other organisations, including Halton Borough Council, has allowed us to deliver 120 sessions this summer.

“The team of experienced play workers support, on average, 27 children per session and even provide one-to-one support for children with additional needs.

“We have had fantastic feedback from parents who have told us that the range of activities on offer have kept their children motivated during the summer break.”

Lisa Brown, the parent of one of the children who attends the scheme, praised its work: “Both of my children have attended the play scheme over the summer this year and absolutely loved it. They come home buzzing from all of the activities they have done, and with tales of their day.

“The staff have been amazing and I can’t thank them enough for taking care of my two and giving them some great memories this summer.”

The play scheme is one of 17 projects across Cheshire which received Safer Communities Funding in 2017-18 to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.

To find out more about the Safer Communities Fund, please visit https://www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-im-doing/safer-communities-fund/