A council run scheme ‘Playleadership’ started in Basildon New Town in the 1960s and by early 1970s was well established in parks and recreation grounds throughout the district. A Tin shed arrived in the park in the few weeks before Summer Holidays and filled with basic sports and craft equipment.
Stilts, netball posts, Foot, basket, net and rugby balls, hockey sticks, beanbags skipping ropes and cricket,table tennis and shot tennis bats. Paints scissors and a selection of paints and plastacine.
Throughout the summer three, two hour sessions of supervised activities a day were watched over by paid playleaders who organised everything. There was no charge for children joining the fun and no need to officially ‘join the club’ The children turned up if they wanted to.It was up to the playleaders to scrounge the extra materials they needed by visiting local factories and shops to see what was being thrown away.
Competitions were held including fancy dress and decorate the shed and visitors from the council and other local visitors judged the winners. Coach outings were sometimes organised. All summer work went on making the float and costumes for the carnival. Some of the playleadership sheds were replaced by demountable buildings or even purposed built brick buildings in the new town. These could then carry on the activities throughout the year with two hour sessions after school and two sessions on a Saturday and Sunday.
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