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Annington funds first national Forces Playday

06 Aug Annington funds first national Forces Playday

As research by PlayDay, the national day for play, reveals that just 21% of children play outside regularly, Annington, the company responsible for refurbishing former MOD homes at Mayflower Park in Henlow, has partnered with the Armed Forces and Playing Out, a parent and resident-led movement, to set up the first ever national Forces Playday. This initiative, which took place yesterday (4th August 2021), is an offshoot from the annual PlayDay, a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives and celebrates children’s right to play.

Forces Playday aims to encourage children from Service families to rediscover the joy of playing outside, and the initiative aims to reconnect military communities, increase wellbeing, and boost morale amongst Forces families. The campaign benefited 8,500 Forces youngsters at more than 70 Army, Navy and RAF bases across the UK.

Annington’s sponsorship of the project allowed every military base to purchase equipment and traditional toys such as skipping ropes and chalks, as well as providing training from Playing Out for military personnel supervising the play sessions. Annington also provided specially printed ‘Road Closed’ signs manufactured by the RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. All equipment will be retained by the Bases so further supervised play sessions can be run throughout the summer holidays.

Jane Harsham, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Annington, comments: “The Armed Forces have been the unsung heroes of the past year and their children have played their part too, with thousands having dealt with greater periods of parental absence. Sponsoring the first national Forces PlayDay and providing military communities with the opportunity to reconnect through the celebration of children’s outdoor play has provided important relief at this time. We hope everyone has a great summer.”

Alice Ferguson, Co-Director at Playing Out adds: “I would like to thank Annington on behalf of Playing Out and all the military children that are benefiting from play streets this summer. Playing outside and being part of your community is an essential part of a happy healthy childhood and it’s fantastic that Annington and the Armed Forces are supporting this to happen.”

Annington is refurbishing 80 homes at Mayflower Park, on the site of former Ministry of Defence properties connected to RAF Henlow.