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Research Case studies

The Venture: A case study of an adventure playgound


This detailed case study, which was conducted by Fraser Brown, was largely based on conversations with playworkers, past and present. The Venture is an adventure playground sited in the middle of one of the most deprived estates in Wales, Caia Park in Wrexham. While hundreds of open access play projects have come and gone in the UK during the last thirty years, The Venture has moved from strength to strength, and is now one of the most respected projects of its type anywhere in the country.

It now employs a wide range of staff, and has a substantial annual turnover. The Venture has been used as the model for the programme of integrated children's centres in Wales. A similar process has been adopted in Scotland. Recently the Secretary of State for Wales described The Venture as "one of the best in the country, if not in Europe".

How has this project managed to survive, and even expand, where so many others have failed? This case study looks at the history of The Venture, and identifies the core philosophies that have informed its practice for around thirty years. It reaches the conclusion that The Venture's success story is partly the result of one individual's skill at overcoming political and financial obstacles, and partly the result of the project's firm and ongoing commitment to the traditional values of playwork. The case study also throws light on the minefield of government funding, and in so doing offers some pointers for other projects in their quest for survival.

Key paper:

  • Brown, F, (2007) The Venture: A Case Study of an Adventure Playground. Cardiff: Play Wales.

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