Grants pay for play day fun for families

Witney Gazette: Aaron McDowall enjoys go-karting at last year’s Armed Forces Play Day at Ambrosden. Aaron McDowall enjoys go-karting at last year’s Armed Forces Play Day at Ambrosden.

A SERIES of free play days for families is coming to Oxfordshire this summer.

There will be 12 across the county organised by Oxfordshire Play Association and thousands of residents are expected to join in with activities including a climbing wall, mobile skate park and go-karting.

Locations include Oxford’s Rose Hill, Eynsham, Abingdon and Bicester and there will be five Armed Forces Playdays at Oxfordshire barracks.

Each day costs £4,000 to run and this has been supported by grants from organisations including the Ministry of Defence, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council.

Martin Gillett, Oxfordshire Play Association manager, said: “The aim is to get families out playing together, being physically active and get them off the sofa. It is free, so it is a great day for no money.”

Last year the association organised 12 events attended by 16,000 people.

The city play day this year is on Saturday, July 13, at Rose Hill recreation ground in Ashhurst Way and is supported by £750 from Oxford City Council, £1,275 from Oxfordshire County Council and £750 from the Community First Fund – Government cash awarded to help community projects.

Last year, the city play day was held in Blackbird Leys and hailed a success, with 1,500 people attending.

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Mr Gillett said: “We were delighted to receive the funding. This enables us to offer an event with free entrance and free activities which ensures it is available to all families.

“We have lots booked for the day already including a youth arena with a mobile skate park and the youth bus, playbus, go-karts, climbing wall and sports tasters.”

Rose Hill mum-of-four Nassira Jmil said: “It will be lovely. It is something for the kids to do in the summer.”

Ed Turner, deputy leader of Oxford City Council and Rose Hill councillor, said: “It sounds like it is going to be a fantastic event.

“I think anything like that which brings the community together and helps families is good.”

DIARY DATES.

All play days run from 11am-3pm

Wednesday, April 10: Vauxhall Barracks, Foxhill Road, Didcot.

Saturday, May 18: RAF Brize Norton, Alvescot Road Recreation Ground, Carterton.

Wednesday, May 29: Shrivenham Defence Academy, Jubilee Centre, Watchfield.

Saturday, June 1: Vale of White Horse, Abingdon, Abbey Grounds.

Saturday, June 8: Bicester Garrison, Families Centre, Ambrosden.

Saturday, July 13: Rose Hill Recreation Ground, Oxford.

Wednesday, July 24: People’s Park, Banbury.

Thursday, July 25: Edmonds Park, Park Road, Didcot.

Wednesday, July 31: Oxford Road Playing Field, Eynsham.

Wednesday, August 7: Garth Park, Launton Road, Bicester.

Wednesday, August 28 Dalton Barracks, Sports Field, Shippon.

To be confirmed: Hill End Centre, Eynsham Road, Farmoor, Oxford

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