Volunteer helpers are needed for Blackbird Leys playgroup

BLAP secretary Sue Price and volunteer Philip Coggins with, from left, nine-year-olds Joshua Chilton, Megan Davies, Daisy Nyongesa, James Lee and Ben Fuller, nine. Picture: OX68013 Greg Blatchford

BLAP secretary Sue Price and volunteer Philip Coggins with, from left, nine-year-olds Joshua Chilton, Megan Davies, Daisy Nyongesa, James Lee and Ben Fuller, nine. Picture: OX68013 Greg Blatchford

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

BLACKBIRD Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP) needs volunteers to help boost the skills of children on the estate.

The playground runs after-school clubs every weekday during school terms and looks after more than 20 children at a time.

Volunteers are needed to share their skills, such as cooking, gardening or crafts, to help entertain the children.

BLAP secretary Sue Price said: “We have paid staff, which we rely on during the holiday camps, but during the term time we need more people.

“It’s the volunteers that add the extra skills that makes it fun for the kids.

“It’s those skills that people can provide that enrich the youngster’s lives.”

One of BLAP’s volunteers is Philip Coggins, a former cabinet maker who does woodwork and builds toys for the children.

Mrs Price, 67, said: “The kids love having him. He makes the most amazing wooden toys that are really unique and special.’’ The after-school club runs from 3.30pm to 5pm after school every day with children from across Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys attending.

Mrs Price, who lives in Blackbird Leys, said: “We will train up any volunteers – we would love to have them on board.’’ The playground, on the corner of Blackbird Leys Road and Cuddesdon Way, was brought back to life in 2011 thanks to a £6,590 grant from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the Oxford Mail’s parent company. Since then the estate’s children have benefited from year-round play groups and courses, which are funded by charitable donations and grants from Blackbird Leys Parish Council.

The group’s annual meeting, which is open to the public, is on Monday, July 7.

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