Stroud town councillors save outdoor play scheme

Stroud News and Journal: The Play Rangers group which meets weekly at Archway Gardens and Mason Road playing field has received funding from Stroud Town Council to continue. Children are pictured gathered around a fire. Picture by Thousand Word Media The Play Rangers group which meets weekly at Archway Gardens and Mason Road playing field has received funding from Stroud Town Council to continue. Children are pictured gathered around a fire. Picture by Thousand Word Media

TOWN councillors have come to the rescue of a threatened outdoor play scheme.

Play Rangers run weekly sessions year round at Mason Road playing fields and Archway Gardens play area in Stroud during term times.

More than 80 children take part in the free activities.

Due to funding cuts, the sessions were due to end last month until Stroud Town Council stepped in with a £3,150 grant.

Now the programme, described as an outdoor youth club, will continue at least until March.

Town councillor Kevin Cranston said: “This is an invaluable scheme which builds communities and teaches children vital social skills.

“If it is inspires just one child and helps them develop to be a good citizen then it is excellent value, but it does far more than that. It is hard to measure the cost of the negative things that do not happen because of this scheme.

“But I am convinced that this is the most useful social programme that the town council supports and is something I will defend as long as I am a councillor.”

Described as an outdoor youth club, Play Gloucestershire, which runs the Rangers scheme, offers a wide range of activities for young people aged 8 to 14.

The charity recently won a national award for its work.

Pip Levett, director of Play Gloucestershire, said: “Our active outdoor play is just what young people need after a busy day at school.

"They get the chance to meet friends, let off steam, eat healthy campfire snacks and chat to our friendly and caring team of staff and young volunteers.

“Our Rangers help youngsters make sense of difficulties in school, at home and in the community and support them with the modern pressures of growing up.”

The Play Rangers are at Mason Road on Tuesdays and at Archway Gardens onThursday.

Both sessions run from 4pm to 6pm. Sessions resume on January 14.

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