Kirkshaws Play Area – Parent Action for Safe Play (PASP)

Parent Action for Safe Play (PASP) campaigned to turn a local derelict brownfield sight into a multi-purpose play area and in 1999 a playpark opened which still exists today. That was just the start of the story and in the years since they have provided play opportunities to more than 6000 children through their clubs, play rangers and community outreach programmes. A passion for providing for real play, especially for the most vulnerable children and families, drives their work which extends beyond Kirkshaws to communities and schools across the local authority area.

“I love it because you get to play with stuff we’re not allowed in the house”

“I love making up my own games in the park like rolling down the hill”

“The play rangers are funny”

Kirkshaws Play Area

Parent Action for Safe Play

Nancy Ovens Award for Play, 2004

In 1996 Mary Fagan and a group of like-minded parents concerned about the lack of play and leisure facilities for the children and young people in Kirkshaws got together to campaign for change.

As Parent Action for Safe Play (PASP) they campaigned, negotiated and built partnerships in order to turn a local derelict brownfield sight into a multi-purpose play area. By 1999, the vision was achieved and a playpark opened which still exists today.

Mary credits Nancy Ovens with inspiring her with a passion for ‘real play’ – realising that it isn’t just about providing play areas but ensuring children, especially the most vulnerable, could experience all the benefits of truly playing.

There are many milestones in the story of PASP, from the opening of Play Park in 1999, the National Playing Fields Association Playground of the Year award in 2000 and the Nancy Ovens Award for Play in the inaugural year of the awards. Many felt this was a fitting tribute both to Mary, a committed community campaigner and to Nancy with her unshakeable belief in the power of play. Other accolades were to follow including a Britain in Bloom Beautiful Scotland Neighbourhood Award in 2009. The commitment and professionalism of the staff team is highly valued and integral to the success of the project.

PASP has always had an interest in the environment with activities around energy awareness, recycling, gardening, the 2012 Growing Greener Project, the community garden and simply providing much needed opportunities to play in the great outdoors!

“I’m playing in the mud and its great fun.”

PASP’s activities have diversified to meet the needs of children and young people in the local area and surrounding neighbourhoods. The Children & Youth Development Centre was opened in 2006 and many different activities are offered including Junior and Senior Youth Clubs, music, football coaching, drama and community events

In recent years, with the support of Inspiring Scotland’s investment through Go2Play, the PASP playworkers have taken play opportunities well beyond the Kirkshaws area with Outreach Street Play, Play Rangers and Mini Play Rangers in schools. For many children and families, the freedom to play out on the streets in the local neighbourhood is far more restricted than in the past. PASP’s programmes in local spaces has built families’ confidence about getting their children outdoors to play – with benefits not just for the children but the whole community.

“I’ve had as much fun as the wean, thanks”

PASP also creates many opportunities for training and development with staff and volunteers able to access a wide range including recognised Youth and Playwork qualifications as well as Duke of Edinburgh Awards, First Aid etc.

A remarkable set of statistics demonstrates just what an impact PASP has had. Over the last 20 years it has:

  • Provided opportunities for over 6000 children, young people and families.
  • Provided 137 employment, training and volunteering opportunities
  • Secured £2.4 million of funding to provide services for our community

The PASP Board is made up of members of the local community who are a strong body and operate a hands on approach to service delivery. Mary Fagan, PASP’s Chairperson and founder had a vision in 1996 to tackle the lack of play provision in the area and for all children to have a right to play and has worked tirelessly to achieve this. All of the Board members have high levels of skills, dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to the implementation of the aims and objectives of Parent Action for Safe Play and to also raise awareness of play provision in Scotland.

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