The Playleadership Scheme in Wickford was started in 1967, in the recreation park in Nevendon Road, behind the Fire Station and The Home for the Elderly. The Scheme was organised and paid for by Basildon Council. I was the Head Playleader and several other people were employed as Playleaders, both male and female, each person doing several days per week. We organised sport activities, handicraft sessions, and if the youngsters came up with requests we did our best to please them and keep them busy. We also joined in events in Wickford Town, including Fancy Dress Parades. We catered for children between the ages of 5 years and 15 years, but if slightly older teenagers wanted to join in we did our best to accommodate them also. The scheme was open to youngsters in the early evening during school term time, and during school holidays we opened during the day as well.
The main idea of the scheme was to encourage young people to occupy their spare time in activities, and we were always open to suggestions for this. Eventually another one was started in the Memorial Park and there were several Play Areas with organised activities in Basildon. Basildon Council employed two men to organised the whole scheme and they made sure that each Centre had the basic sports and handicraft equipment and Playleaders to organise activities for the children. A sponsored walk was held one year to raise money for charity and we had open days when we encouraged parents to come and join in activities.
[If you are in the photographs or recognise other people, please let us know the names. There are more Play Leadership photographs in ‘Carnivals and fetes’ in our Topics category, and in our Gallery of Photographs.]