Tell me about what you do?
At the playhouse after school club we take care of children past school hours until their parents come and collect them. We believe it is important that parents can keep to their work commitments without worrying about their children. As a result, we run this programme during term-time as well as during holiday periods. We pick up the children ourselves from four schools in the catchment area and bring them to Tameside Primary School where they have a variety of activities to engage with. These range from arts and crafts to sports activities and they are always supervised by our members of staff. Importantly, we are Ofsted registered and currently have 40 children whom we look after at the end of every school day.
What is your proudest achievement?
In 2013, we received the Quality in Play Award from Play England. We were one of only two institutions in Sandwell to receive this award at the time. The Quality in Play Award shows the quality assurance that parents and children will receive from being on our register. In order to receive this award we had to demonstrate a number of quality indicators, most importantly the quality of our facilities and safety.
Tell me about any experiences you have had with SCVO?
Our most significant experience with SCVO was when they supported us during the completion of a grant form. It was a very complex process; however the help of SCVO certainly made this more straightforward.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from working with people in Sandwell?
From working with the people of Sandwell we have learnt that families and parents are very supportive of what we do. It is an extremely valuable scheme for parents who have important work commitments. Most importantly, we have learnt that the children reflect upon this supporting character. The children at our after school club are always supporting one another, it is as if they are part of one big family.
What are your plans for the future? Any challenges you face?
In terms of the future, we would certainly look to expand on the amount of children we can cater for. However, this year our contract runs out at Tameside Primary School and this provides one major challenge to our future plans. Although Tameside Primary School will allow us to stay here, there may be less room available for us to conduct our activities in a safe manner. Therefore, this provides a challenge to find the space required in the local area.
One last challenge that we face is an issue of funding. Due to the small amount of funding we have available, it is hard to pay for training courses for our staff and pay for some of the activities we would like to run for the children.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Currently, it is very difficult to transport the children from each school to Tameside. At the moment we pay a taxi service to do this but it is an extremely difficult task. Therefore, SCVO could help us by securing a minibus service that would help us to transport every child safely.
Another way SCVO could further support our organisation would be through funding opportunities. At the moment we do not have the funds to secure training for our staff and most of the time they pay out of their own pocket for certain equipment for the children. Therefore, funding is a big issue for us at the Playhouse After School Club.
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