The charity Children’s Playlink formed in 1995, to offer basic training to local early years groups, and to support pre-school settings, nurseries, and out of school clubs. Soon after, we started offering support to families with special needs children within South Gloucestershire, through respite services during the school breaks, focussing on children and vulnerable young people. This grew and was developed further by South Gloucestershire Council, which continues to support our work.
The council provide us with funding to host playschemes during the school breaks for up to 80 children per day at four venues: Thornbury, Kingswood, Little Stoke, and Yate. Special trips and workshops are arranged through the generous support and donations from parents, to places like Cattle Country and Noah’s Ark. The local authority also provide support for young people to attend mainstream play or leisure activities outside of school hours through our buddy scheme. This helps promotes friendship, independence, and a sense of achievement, with the aim of improving self-confidence.
As the economic climate became more difficult for charities to continue the level of support they had previously provided, in 2015 the trustees of Children’s Playlink decided to merge with another similar charity, Brandon Trust, which also supports children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. The wealth of experience that Brandon Trust provides, has aided and broadened the scope of Children’s Playlink with the aim of expanding our services, increasing the number of young people accessing our facilities, as well as increasing the number of days we operate.
Our staff are a dedicated group, anxious to ensure that the children have a positive, enjoyable experience, often working and playing with them on a 1:1 ratio. Many of our staff are students and teachers who have worked with us during school holidays. All staff are DBS checked and undertake training courses provided by Brandon.
If you're interested in working with vulnerable young people as a support worker, please visit the Brandon Trust website.
Since merging with Brandon Trust, we've introduced workshops in the Taunton area. Activities range from arts & crafts, visits to a local museum, and cooking, to playing Laser Quest and Ten-pin bowling. Workshop activities are limited to a maximum of 10 young people.