About The Awards

Our work makes a difference to the lives of children by promoting their rights to play safely in their communities.

We do this by celebrating the ground-breaking work done around Scotland to provide children and young people with innovative play experiences.

Through our annual awards The Trust builds on the work that Nancy Ovens carried out in advocating the importance of children’s play in Scotland.

Some of our awards have included a parkour play project in Coatbridge, the biggest in the UK, and a play area in New Lanark designed by primary school pupils as young as 3.

Recent research has shown that the majority of children in Scotland are not doing enough physical activity.

The work of the Trust to promote and celebrate grassroots projects bucking that trend is more important than ever.

Individuals, organisations and community groups can enter the National Awards for Play in Scotland in the award categories for 1) play in the home 2) at nursery or school 3) in the community or 4) positive support for play.

Children are welcome at our annual awards ceremony, and get a chance to try out a different play experience away from their own local area, and play practitioners have the opportunity to exchange learning and good practice.

Could you be a Nancy Ovens Trust award winner?

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We carry out research into the impact of the awards to make sure they are of real value to children and communities across Scotland. Sign up to get updates and we can share the latest research with you.

In our newsletter we also share the latest research and news in the play sector. There is a wealth of research supporting the importance of play for children.

The Nancy Ovens Trust is proud to be acknowledged in the Scottish Government’s document Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Action Plan (2013) as an organisation that can identify and showcase positive engagement with children and young people, parents and carers, and community based play providers in the planning, design and management of play spaces and opportunities.

The overarching principles of our work reflect those enshrined in The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The child’s right to play and leisure

Article 31 (Leisure, play and culture): –“That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

That member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”

The child’s right to express their views

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.

The child’s right to protection from all forms of discrimination

Article 2 (Non-discrimination): The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.


Or do you know an organisation or someone who deserves an award?

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We acknowledge the support of the Scottish Government through a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant

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