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Case study- Play Scotland and ScrapAntics - Inspiring Scotland


Case study- Play Scotland and ScrapAntics

This case study was created to showcase how an organisation has used Scotland’s Play Ranger Toolkit successfully and how the key learning from the toolkit has been embedded into their day to day services. We sat down with Play Scotland and ScrapAntics to hear more about how they have used the toolkit in their Playful Communities project and some of the successes and challenges along the way.

ScrapAntics are a social justice enterprise who run Dundee’s only ScrapStore and have diverted over 75 tonnes of business excess waste back into the community as resources for creative and play-based projects. Their core four impacts are: Education, Recycling, Community and Arts. 

Play Scotland is the national expert in play for parents, providers, the play workforce and policy makers. They are the custodian and voice for children and the play sector, a leader and campaigner for the importance of quality, accessible free play and experts in developing and delivering strategic planning for play. 

 Working in partnership Play Scotland and ScrapAntics deliver Playful Communities – free facilitated play sessions, which support families and children who live in Dundee in recognised areas of disadvantage as highlighted in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). 

 The sessions are inclusive and accessible, suitable for all ages and for those with additional support needs or language challenges – ideal for those who struggle with an indoor play environment or rule-based play. 

Can you describe some of the highlights and benefits of using the Play Ranger Model ?

 In 2021/22 Playful Communities delivered 145 hours of play, engaging with over 324 families and 691 children. We work closely with families from the local New Scot (refugee) community, families from Dundee International Women’s Centre and local community organisations who work with care experienced young people. 

 Our smaller family sessions have had positive outcomes by allowing the opportunity for valuable family time in a safe outdoor environment. Our sessions support children who initially separate themselves from groups and “act out” to become more comfortable with joining in and sharing resources. Sessions showed a clear change in the way families interacted with each other, introducing positive communication tools and learning opportunities. 

 The sessions also support community impact as a whole by: 

  • Creating safer and more welcoming spaces for the community 
  • Encouraging families to make use of the environmental space to enhance their play, taking ownership of their space 
  • Supporting links within the community by offering the opportunity for families and children who live close to each other to meet and interact, forming local connections?. 

 Why does the Play Ranger Model work for your organisation?

  • The model allows our team to work to their best ability, being adaptable, flexible and enthusiastic and creating a non-judgmental and welcoming environment 
  • The sessions allow our staff to approach the sessions from a pedagogic point of view as well as a determination to encourage social interaction 
  • Our sessions are inclusive and support single parents as well as people of all ages and backgrounds; particularly mothers, carers, foster carers, childminders and teachers who all attend our sessions, students often come to learn more about play 
  • The model encourages empowerment and ownership for those families who may not regularly have their voices heard. These interactions increase confidence for parents and children, supporting wider positive inclusion outcomes for families facing multiple disadvantage 
  • Allows for the individual to create their own play environment at their own level, pace, and needs as it is so led by the each child leads their own play experience. 

What were some of the challenges you faced using the the play ranger model, and how did you mitigate these? 

  •  The weather can be difficult especially over the winter months, particularly because in SIMD1 areas we often find children have less access to appropriate clothing. However,  we never cancel sessions unless absolutely necessary so that families have trust that we will be there, and we have found that even in extreme weather families still want to engage with our sessions. 
  • Finding dog mess and broken glass in the park areas, which we use gloves and bags to dispose of, creating a safer space for play 
  • We found many children were hungry and had not been given adequate food before attending the sessions, so we developed the project to include fruit and healthy snacks. 
  • Breaking down preconceptions to this type of play, as some can be sceptical about free play and the use of recycled resources. We challenge this by continuing to run sessions in the same locations to increase understanding, creating a welcome, judgement free environment and explaining the benefits of what we are doing.
  • Advertising the events has been more difficult due to a reduced use of Facebook, so we do additional advertising through schools, community groups and other social media channels. 



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