NORCA’s Play Ranger service, was launched in October 2008 to help children aged 5 – 12 rediscover outdoor play, funded by the BIG Lottery Play Initiative Fund and supported by Norwich City Council. The programme ran to March 2011
The BIG Lottery’s Play Initiative Fund was set up in response to the Governments review of Children’s Play – ‘Getting Serious about Play’. In funding Play Initiatives the BIG Lottery aimed to ensure that more children took part in a wider range of good, inclusive and accessible play experiences, that children have more choice and control over their play and that children develop greater well-being through play (including healthy growth, knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn).
Based in three of Norwich’s parks – Waterloo, Eaton and Pilling – the Play Rangers gave children the opportunity to get involved in imaginative and creative outdoor play whilst providing a guaranteed safe adult presence in the parks and play areas for both children and parents. They also visited schools and community groups to encourage the children to get outside and play in the parks and to give them a taste of what the Rangers had to offer in their play sessions.
Play sessions were informal and although the Rangers usually had some equipment with them, the sessions were mostly led by the children’s imagination! All activities were free!