Local nursery meets football legends

Charity and childcare provider, Growing Places, with six settings in Waterlooville, Fareham and Havant within Hampshire, are proud to announce their selection as a company featured in the Professional Footballers’ Association prestigious book; ‘50 Years of the PFA Awards.’

Their feature in this esteemed book allows Growing Places a high-profile platform to shout about not only the importance of early years, but also their local community and how they plan to give children from the ages of 5-16 the best start in life through sport and creativity, namely their Community Hub Project.

Chris Warren, Physical Lead Educator at Growing Places and Phoebe Whitehead, Deputy Manager of Merryfields Nursery were lucky enough to attend the glittering PFA Awards this year.

Chris writes; A huge reason for this is our children need a place to be, where they can go and feel safe, build relationships within their own community and have fun taking part in activities that may be a struggle to access due to increasing financial constraints and lack of opportunity." They will be given opportunities to develop a sense of pride, ownership and community responsibility.”

Growing Places also hopes this prominent new exposure will help to shine a light on other initiatives they are passionate about, one of these being their Childhood SOS campaign, which is strongly linked to their Community Hub Project, highlighting the importance of play, not only for our children's development, but for the health and stability of our society going forward.

Studies have found that children’s free outdoor play with other children has declined 71% in one generation alone in both the UK and the US.*(1) It has also been discovered that as play has declined, social problems such as depression, anxiety, narcissism and even suicide have increased in children and young adults.*(2)
In a 2017 article in Time magazine, The Secret Power of Play, it has even been accepted that ‘play is so important to the well-being of children that the United Nations recognises it as a fundamental human right, on par with the rights to shelter and education.’

It is through play that children first learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control and follow rules. Without play, our children risk becoming the least healthy adult population in living memory.

Post covid our children's interaction with others is at an all-time low, and Growing Places, like many other nurseries have become acutely aware of the damage it is causing our children. Angela Mcgeady, Outdoor Lead Educator at Growing Places has noticed huge changes in children during her many years in the childcare industry;

“I see children who can swipe with their finger but they can’t turn the page of a book. They need time to make mistakes, get muddy, get wet and just not worry.”

Play has become both rarer and more important than ever before, and Growing Places feel that something needs to be done now to help protect play and the future wellbeing of our children into adulthood.

In a bid to find out more about anti-social behaviour in our local area, Growing Places turned to Habib Rahman, Chief Inspector of Havant and East Hampshire District, who shared findings concluding that boredom was the most significant factor for youth related violence.

Many of Growing Places nurseries are located in ‘areas of deprivation’ which makes their Community Hub Project so important and much needed. Growing Places firmly believe that an easily accessible youth facility for sport and creativity which is available to all at low cost will make a huge difference to not only the physical and mental health of our children but also to local crime statistics going forward.

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