Project Play!

Find out more about how we supported children in Paddington Green to spend more time playing outside

Dr Fiona Kennedy, GP at Paddington Green Health Centre, approached Connecting Care for Children to see if we could launch a project together to get children playing outdoors 

Our aims:
- To encourage children to spend more time playing outdoors
- To help families in Paddington Green, Lisson Grove and Church Street to feel safe
- To help families reclaim the streets
- To create opportunities for creativity and exercise in the school holidays
- To build relationships with schools, families, GP and the children’s health team at St Mary’s hospital

Here’s Dr Fiona Kennedy GP at Paddington Green Health Centre, on why it’s so important for children to play outside:

“Being in nature can reduce anxiety and stress, give a sense of freedom and release from structured learning and indoor activities. It allows minds to wander and imagine, build new ideas, solve problems and make friends.

Physically it challenges muscles but also the brain! Using your body in different ways (hopping, skipping, running, jumping and crawling) creates new pathways and connections in our brains. So playing outdoors can help children to get stronger but also to concentrate better in class. Increasing everyday activity is very important for maintaining a healthy weight. Vitamin D from the sun is essential for bone and muscle development, safe daily exposure is important for us all.

Most importantly outdoor play is fun and makes us happy. After this long stormy year let’s help our children find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Our progress:

Working with the Church Street Community Champions and Melissa Dunford Wood at King Solomon Academy we planned a small test project. Imperial Healthcare Charity provided funding so that all of Year 2 at King Solomon Academy could get a free pack of pavement chalk for the May/June half term last year.

Alongside the chalk all the pupils were given a flyer (also available in Arabic) with details of how to enter our outdoor chalk game competition and tips on how to play safely. 

After lots of positive feedback we applied to Change for Life for more funding. We were able to go bigger and better, offering chalk to all the pupils at the younger year’s site at King Solomon Academy and test out the project with one class at nearby Gateway academy. 

Next Steps:

We would love to run the project again, please get in touch if you’re a school in North West London who would like to trial project play. Or if you’re a local GP looking to roll out something similar with a school near you.

If you’re based in Westminster, look up other Change for Life activities to help your family stay active in the school holidays. Or apply for a community grant to support your own project.

For families in Kensington and Chelsea find out about local leisure activities for children and for families in Hammersmith and Fulham take a look at the Summer in the City activities. 
If you’ve been inspired to get outside and get active we would love to see your photos!  

Please get in touch if you have any other questions