A MUCH-NEEDED resource for youngsters and parents in Blackbird Leys is celebrating after securing an extra £10,000 from BBC Children in Need.

Staff at Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground (BLAP) spent months going through the application process for the cash, which will help it continue offering after-school and holiday activities for eight to 13-year-olds on the estate.

Secretary Sue Price said the team had been "really lucky" to secure funding as part of their request had been to pay two part-time salaries.

She said: "That's the bit that is always the most difficult part to get. We are always on the lookout for more funds."

At present BLAP has about 250 children on its books, with scores attending each after-school session.

Mrs Price said: "Last Friday we had 44 in but our numbers are going up very rapidly at the moment. It's sunny and it's fine."

The playground has come a long way since it opened its gates in 1978, offering everything from arts and crafts, cooking and gardening to seaside trips and a Friday IT hub.

Local schoolchildren come to play and study at the site from 3.15pm to 5.30pm each day, offering parents the valuable chance to stay at work for longer.

Mrs Price said there were no plans to lower the age threshold for youngsters.

She said: "At the moment we are still going to work with over-eights. There are lots of things we want at the moment but there's a lot of complications if you go younger."

In the past BLAP has received more than £48,000 from the BBC Children in Need programme.

The latest grant will cover costs for one year, including the salaries of two trained, part-time play leaders to boost the children's life skills and confidence.

Chairwoman and Oxford City Ccouncillor Linda Smith said: “The two workers funded by BBC Children in Need form the backbone of our work.

"They not only set a programme of activities, but are responsible for the fun and friendly atmosphere, as well as ensuring positive attitudes within the playground that help children feel happy and secure when they’re with us.”