May 2022

Playworker Spotlight - Cara Turvey

How did you get involved with the Let’s Play Project?

I had completed my Early Childhood Studies at University and attended a job fair 8 years ago, Let’s Play was at that fair, the next week I went for my interview and the rest is history! My first session was a post 18 and we took the young people out for dinner and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been working at Let’s Play for the past 8 years, 2 as a playworker and 6 as a session leader, and I still love coming to work and working with the young people and the team.

What is it like working at Let’s Play?

Amazing! I love everything about Let’s Play, every day is different, and all young people are embraced and are able to play in a safe, warm, positive and fulfilling environment from an amazing team that cares.

What is your favourite thing about working at Let’s Play?

I love the trips we plan! The last 2 years have been difficult, its great to be able to take our young people out on trips again. We had an amazing Easter 2022 trip to Rhyton Pools, the young people loved a day in the park, playing football, picnic for lunch and ice cream (including staff!). I love the Easter egg hunts and carving pumpkins for Halloween!

What is your favourite memory of Let's Play?

I have so many it’s difficult to pick. Any trip we have are popular, our park days, trips to Rhyton
pools, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Trips to the beach and park days are always amazing.

How has Let’s Play impacted your life?

Let’s Play is amazing, I love coming to work because every day is different. Our young people are amazing and it has been a pleasure watching them grow over the years. I also love working with the team, everyone is so supportive and friendly,

What impact do you think Let’s Play has on our young people?

We have created a safe and positive environment, where our young people can use their free time however they please, with fun activities for everyone to access, at Let’s Play we are always thinking of new activities that the young people will enjoy. All young people have a positive experience at Let’s Play and families put their complete trust in us. Our relationship between Let’s Play and our young people and families I feel is outstanding!

Trustee Spotlight - Shirley  Gelleburn

How I became involved

My daughter started attending Let's play when she was 6 years old and at the time she had no meaningful friendships. She had just started attending a special needs school and we had very little support within the special needs community. After a failed attempt at mainstream school we felt really isolated as a family, we felt on the outside of everything that most other families were involved in. I was starting to see that this would also be the case for my son who had just started preschool and would also need an EHCP and need additional support. When I heard about Let's play I didn't believe that it could possibly be as amazing as everyone was telling me! Surely not! I was so nervous to send my daughter off for her first session, what if she wasn't understood? What if she wasn't accepted? What if this was another failure? It was an emotional reunion when she bounded out of her session and said she has had the most amazing time, a play worker came out and told me about all the fun she had and that felt amazing for me as a parent. She came out with the same smile after every session from then on and I felt no hesitation in also sending my son once he was old enough. Let's play was life changing and has continued to be so for the last 9 years that our family has accessed the service. When I heard that let's play were looking for volunteer trustees I jumped at the chance to give back. Our family had benefitted so much and I felt that it was important to support them moving forward in whatever way I could.

How I support, what skills and experience I bring

Up until I adopted my children I was a people manager, managing teams of up to 100 people. I had skills that were transferable and have supported the core team with recruitment and selection, people management and policies and procedures. I am the designated safeguarding trustees as I also volunteer as safeguarding governor at the local community special school and have many years of experience in the field. Apart from planned meetings the support I give is generally ad-hoc and generally arising from a particular scenario so I am called upon when needed.

My favourite memory of Let’s Play

Moving into our current building and seeing the faces of the young people as they enjoyed their first sessions. What a difference this move made!

What I’m excited about for the future of Let’s Play

I have seen Let's Play evolve and grow significantly over the last 6 + years of being a trustee and it's so exciting to see how the team of trustees along with the core team are dedicated to continue in this evolution and growth. Working with such a motivated and enthusiastic bush of people is inspiring and I'm so excited about the future.

April 2022

Playworker Spotlight - Kelly Bradfield

How did you get involved at Let's Play?

I first joined let’s play as a volunteer in 2018. A friend of mine, who was also volunteering at the time had suggested I do it as part of my silver Duke of Edinburgh, and that it would be right up my street and something I’d really enjoy. And he was not wrong! I went on to volunteer for 6 months once a week and attended a couple of holiday sessions. Let’s Play next came into my life when I was 17 and the playworker role was advertised on my school bulletin. I thought RESULT, and applied for the job the same day, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

What is it like working at Let's Play?

It is a genuine pleasure to work at let’s play. I truly believe I have the best job in the world. I am so lucky to get to work with the young people and staff here and I always tell myself I am better for knowing them. Everyone is so relaxed and friendly, I sometimes forget that it is my job and I’m not just reliving my childhood!

Your favourite things about working at Let's Play?

My favourite thing about Let’s Play is the freedom. There are so many opportunities for our young people to explore, try new things and interact with others. The session leaders and playworkers are always thinking of new ideas and activities that our young people would enjoy. It is also a place where you can be your true self and be completely embraced. 

Favourite memory from working at Let's Play?

Gosh there are too many!! Summer holiday sessions are always brilliant. From swimming days, trips to Cotswold wildlife park and water fights. I also loved our trip to Bournemouth beach with youth group in Summer 2021. After such a long time where we were restricted on where we could go, this trip was particularly special. And even though it was incredibly windy it did not stop us from having a paddle in the sea!

How has Let's Play affected your life?

I can honestly say Let’s play is my favourite place to be, so it’s easy to understand why it is such an important place for our young people. I am always excited to go to work and see what the day brings (as no day is ever the same!!) 

Because of Let’s Play, I applied for a job as a CSO at Frank Wise School, the local SEN school, during my gap year and I have absolutely loved working with children in a different setting. 

What impact do you think Let’s Play has on our Young People?

Let’s play has a huge impact on our young people. It provides a safe and positive environment for them to just be. It is so important that our young people have this space as it allows them to use their free time exactly how they want to and be completely supported to do so, whether that’s playing football outside, riding on the go karts, baking, playing games, arts and crafts (just to name a few things!) 

March 2022

Trustee Spotlight - Debi Coles

I am a trustee at Let’s Play working closely with the core team on their fundraising strategy. I also lead the fundraising and business development sub-committee reporting to the trustee board.
I meet regularly with the core team (Tracey & Joe) to discuss fundraising activities including applications to trusts and foundations, community fundraising events, corporate sponsors and regular givers.
I’m also part of the Community Fundraising volunteer group, so I get involved in the implementation of some of the events we have planned.

How did you get involved in Let’s Play?

I have known about Let’s Play for many years, my friend’s daughter has been coming to Let’s Play since she was eight or nine years old and she’s now 18 and it has given her so much confidence and independence. I know how much she loves it and how it’s a real lifeline for her family. Being aware of the great work that Let’s Play do, I was very pleased to accept the offer of becoming a Trustee when I was approached by Tatiana, the Chair of the Trustee Board.
My background is in business development, I regularly advise clients when they are applying for contracts and funding and I bring those skills to Let’s Play. I’ve also really enjoyed getting involved in fundraising activities, particularly community fundraising events. I work for myself and my daughters have grown up and left home so I am flexible with my working hours and can commit time to help Let’s Play develop and implement a robust fundraising strategy.

Your Favourite Let's Play memory?

Probably the 20th-anniversary event, it was lovely to see all the young people and their families come together and celebrate Let’s Play. It really hit home, how crucial the project is for so many people. It feels like one big happy family and I’m really proud, pleased and honoured to be a part of it.

What are most excited about for Let's Play?

I’m really excited about being part of LP’s future, developing our fundraising strategy, having some real flagship events in place that put Let’s Play on the map and recruiting a high profile corporate sponsor. For me, it’s important that we are not only sustainable and can continue to support our existing young people and families, but also that we aim to expand our services and reach a wider group of people so more can benefit from the exceptional service and support that LP offers.

What is the best thing about being a trustee?

Without a doubt, it’s working with a group of hugely committed, hard-working and selfless individuals (that includes the core team, Trustees and volunteers) and having the opportunity to give something back to my local community.

December 2021

Thank You Christmas pls

A big thank you to everyone who has supported us through 2021. It's been a tough year for everybody and we couldn't have made it through without everyone's support! Anyone who has fundraised for us volunteered, attended our celebration day, donated or even liked a post on Facebook. We appreciate everything you all do for us.

Have a Merry Christmas and we'll see you'll all for a much brighter 2022!


June 2021

Playworker Spotlight - Tia Shawyer

How did you get involved at Let's Play?

I started Let’s Play back in 2012. It was a student placement through the college as my course was Health and Social Care. My placement was for 6 months, once a week. I adored Let’s Play so much that I asked to volunteer more regularly, to gain experience. When I was due to leave, Let’s Play were recruiting and I jumped at the opportunity! I’ve been there ever since and honestly, it’s the best decision I have ever made. 

What is it like working at Let's Play?

The Let’s Play community is one big family. I often refer to Let’s play as my happy place. When I am there, I feel amazing! No matter your mood, the children and staff will brighten any day. Every day is different and you learn something new each time. 

Your favourite things about working at Let's Play?

It has to be the inclusivity. The way that Let’s Play are able to meet the needs of all children, raise their self-esteem and make them feel valued. Let’s Play puts the children at the centre of everything they do, it is completely child-led. The project gives children choice and provides them with a place they feel comfortable to be completely themselves, that’s pretty powerful and the reason Let’s Play holds a very special place in my heart. 

Favourite memory from working at Let's Play?

Ahhh I have so many! The summers are incredible, from theme days, water fights and visits to the park its jam-packed and a lot of fun! My residential trip to Wales was a fantastic memory. Visiting the beach and seeing what an amazing time the children had, they are my favourite memories! The moments you enter a child’s world of play, the moment they let you in. You really cherish those moments, that’s when you think this is why I do this job!

How has Let's Play affected your life?

I am currently a trainee teacher and Let’s Play gave me the confidence to do this. It taught me the importance of nurturing children, building relationships and really getting to know and understand a child. These things have to come before teaching and Let’s Play embedded that in my practice. 

My dissertation at University was focused on the effectiveness of intensive interaction for children with autism. After working at Let’s Play for years intensive interaction is one of my favourite things to incorporate into play frames. It is a way of communicating and engaging with children, particularly those who are non-verbal. I interviewed staff for their views and used this to inform a discussion around why it is so important and why it works so effectively. Super passionate about it and believe it is a great way to build relationships with children.

March 2021

"As a family we value the respite and the peace of mind that Let's Play brings us, we would be lost without them!"

Here, at The Let's Play Project we love seeing and supporting all of our Young People - it's also incredibly important to us to support their families. Here's what one of our parents shared about Let's Play and the support we provide...

I was lucky enough to be given details of the Let's Play Project when my daughter was 6 and had just started attending the Local Special school. We were at a loss as to how to support our special needs daughter with socialising when nearly all out of school activities were for mainstream children and not inclusive.
I was a bag of nerves when I dropped her off after never leaving her with anyone before. The team were great and reassuring and made me feel comfortable. She bounded out of her first session like she had just been to Disney land! I couldn't have been happier! I was so excited when my son grew old enough that he could also experience the excitement of his first day at Let's Play.
Sessions are planned with themes but flexible to the children's needs. Sometimes my children fully embrace the theme and sometimes they want to do specific activities, there needs are always accommodated by the Play workers and session leaders and they always come out of sessions with big smiles on their faces! 
The Let's Play Project gives my children a safe space to play and learn, socialising with their peers in a supportive and tolerant space. As a family we value the respite and the peace of mind that Let's Play brings us, we would be lost without them!