06:00PM, Tuesday 11 May 2021
Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP) has welcomed its first schools back for regular access to its facilities.
TVAP offers a range of adventurous, therapeutic and educational play activities in a safe and stimulating environment, for both children and adults with all types of disabilities.
As well as catering to individuals and families, the centre also welcomes schools to use its facilities including the outdoor play areas, sensory room and crafts area during the school week.
Pre-COVID, TVAP received more than 350 visits a year from schools, bringing nearly 3,000 pupils from as far afield as Hampshire and London boroughs.
Due to the pandemic such visits were halted, also stopping the donations that came with them. This put strain on the charity’s finances.
The adventure playground began with a gradual re-opening and is now getting back to normal, starting with a class from Addington special needs school in Woodley.
The students arrived on the school bus on Thursday and plan to regularly re-visit from now on, providing the UK is able to keep to the Government re-opening roadmap.
“We have put in a massive effort to make the playground as COVID-secure as possible with a rigorous cleaning programme in place and social distancing protocols,” said Gary Warrington, manager of the Playground.
“We have been in touch with our schools, discussing our measures, and they have all been enthusiastic about returning, if not wholly sure when that will be.”
A teacher from Addington School said, “Absolutely amazing experience at TVAP – so clean and the staff are beyond magnificent. We loved it and so did the kids. Everything is so creatively put together.”
TVAP plans to continue to open on Thursdays to a maximum of three school classes. It plans to open as needed to accommodate one-off summer term visits from schools and groups.
The playground is currently open on Fridays for adults with special needs and Saturdays, offering three two-hour sessions for up to 12 households per session.
It is offering respite breaks for 12 children a week. The soft play area which has been closed, is planned to be re-opened on Monday.
“We now plan to move forward cautiously but positively, looking to getting most areas open and have effective protocols in place to allow for an almost normal summer term and summer holidays,” said Gary.
“We are pleased to see the light is at the end of the tunnel and we look forward to welcoming more of our beneficiaries back in the coming weeks.”
For more information about TVAP or to donate, visit www.tvap.co.uk