The History of Bucks Play Association

The Association is a charity committed to promoting, supporting and developing inclusive play provision for parents/childcare providers/community teams in Buckinghamshire. We have an emphasis on enabling those in rural and disadvantaged areas and those with additional educational needs to have the same opportunities as their more affluent or mainstream counterparts.

The Charity was set up in 1980 as the Aylesbury Vale Play Association through an initiative of the Aylesbury Vale District Council in partnership with local people keen on promoting play opportunities for disadvantaged children. Some groups, e.g. Churches, School PTAs and village communities were already organising volunteer led holiday play schemes and the aim of the Association was to combine skills, knowledge, expertise and resources to provide support for existing groups and promote the development of additional schemes around the Vale particularly hoping to encourage school involvement.

Activities of the Association centred around the original Johnathan Page Playcentre and included holiday play schemes, after schools club and Saturday Club. Support was also provided to Voluntary and Community groups to run play schemes around Aylesbury and the Vale. This included advice and guidance, a Resource Centre providing an equipment loan service and materials purchase service, activities and events ideas as well as training for staff and volunteers.

A strong ethos of community involvement and volunteer support has been fostered and continues today. In 2003 funding was achieved to set up the Boomerang Toy Library Service, which has its main base at Millbrook Combined School in High Wycombe, but also runs regular sessions in Aylesbury. In 2004 it took over the Chiltern Toy Library in Chesham (which was in danger of closing) and runs fortnightly sessions from the White Hill Centre. Boomerang is now involved in providing services from local Children’s Centres and, in 2007 was fortunate to be given custom built space in the new Eden Centre Library in High Wycombe, which has enabled us to provide support to a far wider membership. The Association is very grateful to the library for providing us with this space.

A rebranding exercise took place in 2005 to reflect the work that is going on outside of Aylesbury and the organization is now called The Bucks Play Association. In 2007, the Administrative base of the Association moved to new premises at Booker Park School based in Aylesbury.

The Association faces an exciting and challenging time ahead whilst its services are reviewed and extended to better meet the needs of its community.