360 Play’s ‘Young Minds Campaign’ aims to support children and families across our communities who have been isolated throughout the pandemic, those who have lost jobs, those who have been sick or those who have struggled to cope and need a helping hand back to normality. Passionate dad, owner and founder Duncan Phillips has pledged over £60,000 worth of tickets for children and families who have struggled through lockdown, for 360 Play centres across the country.
“As a father of two boys through lockdown and passionate about giving children the best start in life, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the younger members of our society. Unfortunately we may only see the impacts when the world does start to return to normal, but the warning signs are very clear to see.” Duncan Phillips – Founder and Managing Director
We have closely followed the child health experts throughout the pandemic and considered where we could have an impact to help our children.
Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, addressing MPs on the Education Select Committee earlier this year: “When we close schools we close their lives, the pandemic has caused a range of harms to children across the board from being isolated and lonely to suffering from sleep problems and reduced physical activity.”
Dr Kathryn Lester, senior lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Sussex, writes that: “The importance of play for children’s wellbeing is still all too easily overlooked, and sadly even more so in the midst of a global pandemic.”
The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. “While posing a lower risk of physical health problems for children, Covid-19 has transformed the social lives of children more rapidly than anyone could have imagined”
We have also watched our own families struggle through lock down and missing their peers.
“I am passionate that it’s now we need to get our children out from home lockdowns and start playing together with others in safe and creative settings that will help re-introduce them to social interaction off screens. Through our Young Minds Campaign if we can reach out and give just one family some help right now it will have been a success. That’s why I am so proud to play our part reaching out to thousands of families who may not have the ability to access our sites to come along as our guests and play again in active and open settings.“ Duncan Phillips
In this campaign we are reaching out to our local communities to help find out who really need a day of carefree family fun. It’s more important now than ever that we look after our youngest generation and their developing minds. If you know someone in your community who would benefit from this we need you to nominate them.
For the first 30 days of 360 Play reopening, in stage three of the roadmap, we will be gifting over 50 tickets daily to the most deserving families in our communities. Friends, families, local charities or CAHMs teams can nominate families who they consider would benefit from a play date together.
Our children have struggled with isolation throughout the pandemic, all their usual social interaction with family and friends that shapes who they are has gone. Parents have been working from home whilst home schooling and providing childcare. Babies have been born who have never met or had interaction with other babies or adults.
Research shows that the formative years are intrinsically important to a child’s development and that the role of play is vital for both psychological and physical growth.
Alison Morton – Head of The Institute of Health Visiting says services have been badly hit during the pandemic with specialist nurses pulled away from their duties to help out on the Covid front line. In some areas, health visitor numbers have dropped by half. Meanwhile, the absence of baby and parent groups, and the friendships that naturally develop from them, has meant the babies of the pandemic have not benefited from the stimulus of social contact that is vital to their development.
For the majority of the school aged children all of their home schooling activities and hobbies have been through screens on their televisions, iPads and computers. Screens have been used (understandably so) as virtual baby sitters for younger children so parents can continue to work and we all feel the frustration of daily Zoom calls!
The 360 Play Young Minds Campaign has been created by Duncan with the support of his management teams across our centres and the backing of local MPs, children’s mental health charities, local businesses and more.
A few words from some of our team members:
“The young minds campaign is something I am so proud to be part of, I’ve seen firsthand the relief on the children and their families faces as they run through the door. It’s never been more important that we take the time to look after the young minds in our community. I saw it personally in my own family. As my little brother is autistic the time inside preventing him from socialising made him take a back step. He did not want to leave the house even to see his friends and family. He came to 360 post the second lockdown and you could see the tension drop from his shoulders as he ran through the play frame and just really enjoyed himself. The same for my mum as she sat down, enjoyed a coffee and watched. There are so many children who will have despite all efforts, been affected by this lockdown and it’s important that all of us are doing our part in supporting families through the return to normal. It truly takes a village and I’m proud 360 is a part of that.”
Chloe Twiselton – Centre Manager 360 Play Milton Keynes
“As a mum myself who has spent the most part of the last year self isolating at home with my children, struggling at the most part to be the best pretend teacher I could be, the Young Minds Campaign is such an honour to be part of to bring happiness back to all the children and their families. The children who have been home schooled, missed out on the socialising and the lockdown babies who haven’t had the chance to experience such fun yet deserve an amazing day out to enjoy being kids again.”
Amiileigh Boules – Centre Manager 360 Play Leicester
“As a parent of two children and also a centre manager at 360 Play, I’ve seen first hand how crucial it is for children to be able to play freely in a setting where they can use their imagination and creativity, burn off energy and to interact with children of their own age.
The 360 Play Young Minds Campaign is a huge project where I can help pioneer this belief and be a part of giving back to not only parents, but to children who’ve had a hard time adapting to life in lockdown.
My team and I are so eager to get back to what we do best, and start to put a smile back on the faces of our local community”
James Hack – Centre Manager 360 Play Basildon.
And a customer telling 360 Play how important our role will be in the coming months after lockdown;
”My son is autistic and has struggled coming in and out of lockdowns with some anxiety and social skills. He has become quite withdrawn and will avoid playing alongside people he doesn’t know well or going out at all. He is much more content at home now. I know it’s important that he socialises, but I was worried how I would encourage him to do so. I brought him to 360 post the second lockdown after watching the safety video online. He loved every minute and so did I. Well distanced, clean as always and an enjoyable atmosphere. My son interacted with staff and other children from a distance. I spoke to other mums across the distanced tables, and I watched my son completely relax and smile so much. We were both anxious when we came in, but we left with a new lease of life. Thank you for this piece of normal and what will hopefully be an early night!”
Claire Hatch – Parent to a 10 year old boy.