• Volunteers and staff at Opening Doors. From left: Karen Afford, Annmarie Nelson, Les Hughes, Gayle Connor-McCreith, Julie Verdin, Georgina Parker, Lizzy Verdin, Christianna Peterson, and Shelly Connolly.

STAFF and volunteers at Opening Doors Project were given a surprise thank you by families at a party to mark the end of this summer’s Play Scheme.

Parents clubbed together to buy flowers and individual gifts for the team which had helped to entertain and educate their children over the four-week event.

Though it wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed having something stimulating to do on their school holidays.

While the children were occupied with various crafts, games and learning activities – including being taught about and being able to hold exotic animals – mum and dad were also given an opportunity to learn about children’s mental health and wellbeing with an accredited course.

The play scheme, which was funded by the Government, was also enriched with fun day trips to Delamere Forest, Croxteth Park, and the cinema.

For the final day party there was music, dancing, and traditional party games, along with an array of snacks and Chinese food.
Children also had the chance to have their faces painted by volunteer Shelly Connolly or receive a colourful tattoo by helper Christiana Peterson.

• Rena Wright and daughter Katie, 19.

Rena Wright, who attended the event with her daughter Katie and who particpated in the adults’ educational course, thanked the team on behalf of the parents. Afterwards, she said: “It’s been amazing, absolutely outstanding. We have done lots of different creative and play activities which Katie loved, especially the Bingo. Katie has also been able to test different types of food. That’s been amazing as well.

“I think the staff are extremely passionate and their whole motivation around the play scheme is that each child develops as an individual and that families are looked after as well.”

Louise Joyner, who took part in the play scheme with her children Thomas and Olivia, also took the opportunity to be take the course on children and young people’s mental health. 

“It was really interesting,” she said, “I learnt a lot that I did not know about, such as what happens to children in poverty and to children not being looked after properly – it was a massive insight.

“Meanwhile our children have been entertained and fed. The play scheme has been absolutely brilliant – it’s been amazing.

“So much work goes into it and the kids love it.” 


This blog story appeared in September issue of Walton Herald. 

• Children at the final day party of the Play Scheme.

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