As research by PlayDay, the national day for play, reveals that just 21% of children play outside regularly, Annington, the company responsible for refurbishing the former MOD homes in Marham, has partnered with the Armed Forces and Playing Out, a parent and resident-led movement, to set up the first ever national Forces Playday. This initiative, which took place on 4th August 2021, is an offshoot from the annual PlayDay, a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives and celebrates children’s right to play.
Forces Playday aims to encourage children from Service families to rediscover the joy of playing outside, and the initiative aims to reconnect military communities, increase wellbeing, and boost morale amongst Forces families. The campaign benefited 8,500 Forces youngsters at more than 70 Army, Navy and RAF bases across the UK.
Annington’s sponsorship of the project allowed every military base to purchase equipment and traditional toys such as skipping ropes and chalks, as well as providing training from Playing Out for military personnel supervising the play sessions. Annington also provided specially printed ‘Road Closed’ signs manufactured by the RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. All equipment will be retained by the Bases so further supervised play sessions can be run throughout the summer holidays.
Jane Harsham, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Annington, comments: “The Armed Forces have been the unsung heroes of the past year and their children have played their part too, with thousands having dealt with greater periods of parental absence. Sponsoring the first national Forces PlayDay and providing military communities with the opportunity to reconnect through the celebration of children’s outdoor play has provided important relief at this time. We hope everyone has a great summer.”
Alice Ferguson, Co-director at Playing Out, adds: “I would like to thank Annington on behalf of Playing Out and the children that are benefiting from these provisions. We are dedicated to our mission to create more safe spaces for children to play and develop outside, and are able to ensure this with the support of Annington and the Armed Forces.”
Annington is currently refurbishing the former MOD homes across the country, ready to be released back onto the market to help those looking for a spacious and well-priced family home.