This post invites you to help one of the leading play agencies in the UK and around the world. Play Wales was recently told that the Welsh Government would not continue funding the organisation. Last week Play Wales asked supporters to sign a petition calling on this decision to be reversed.
Perhaps Play Wales’s most significant achievement has been its role in building policy and legislative support for play – most recently in the form of the duty on Welsh local authorities to assess and secure play opportunities. But it also has a track record of promoting play and playwork across Wales over 15 years. This page on the Play Wales website sets out some of its achievements.
I would urge everyone to sign the Change.org petition and to write to the relevant Welsh Government ministers, Jeff Cuthbert and
Vaughan Gething (email addresses on this web page). The decision can yet be reversed, so your actions may make a difference.
People in the international play field may want to highlight the global significance of the work of Play Wales. For instance, the 2013 United Nations General Comment 17 on Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly draws on the Welsh legislative model (see section 58a). Play Wales also of course organised a successful and enjoyable International Play Association conference in 2011.
No agency can consider itself immune from the vagaries of Government decisions (as I know only too well from 20 years in and around the non-profit sector). But Play Wales is a respected, effective, authoritative outfit whose record speaks for itself. (I have also found it to be an efficient, helpful client.) To cut the agency at this point – just as rights-based legislation drawn up with its help is coming into effect – seems a particularly perverse act. The Welsh Government has placed a strong emphasis on its commitment to children’s rights in making policy, so it may well be that pressure from around the world will have an impact.
And finally, please help spread the word.
Update 15 October 2014: Play Wales has announced that it will continue to receive Welsh Government funding.