Leeds Beckett Alumni Involve Students in Project Helping Children and Young People
Childhood Development and Playwork students were given the opportunity to learn about and get involved in The Valley Project.
During this first teaching block, level 6 students on the Childhood Development and Playwork course, have benefited from a guest lecture from Alumni Steve and Laura, from The Valley Project in Bradford. This is the UK’s youngest Adventure Playground, having grown from grassroots over the last two years.
The Valley Project offers opportunities for children and young people, to play in a safe outdoor environment and the project aims “to tackle inequalities and social isolation faced by children and young people growing up in the Holmewood area of Bradford”. The Valley team have been working throughout the Covid pandemic to find creative ways to continue to support their community, through the distribution of hundreds of “boredom busters”, “isolation packs” and food parcels.
As the project has grown, several of our students have benefited from the excellent opportunities The Valley Project have provided to them, including paid employment. Natalie Sutherland undertook a placement in 2019 and has been working there ever since. Of the experience she says “both Laura and Steve have created an amazing safe space where children can freely come and go when they like to play, have fun and challenge themselves in ways that aren’t able to do at home. Through working with the children, I have been able to learn new skills that they have taught me. I have also been able to gain a strong relationship with Laura and Steve, who have supported me through my University degree and given me advice for my future.”
Laura and Steve are currently supporting two students through one of the final year assessment tasks, to undertake a funding application as part of the Play Development & Management module. A number of our students have been successful in raising funds for the charities they have worked with in the past, and if Natalie and Kira do likewise, they will generate funding to purchase much-needed resources for the children and the site. This includes outdoor play and sport equipment and a dedicated, undercover facility for young people to use to meet and hang out with their friends.
We’re really proud of all that Laura and Steve have achieved in these austere times and are grateful for all that they are contributing to the playwork sector locally and nationally. They are a huge support to our students through their willingness to provide placements and offer support to the authentic learning tasks undertaken by our students.