Leicester

Leicester special needs children's play aided by grant

"When people give money I don't really think they realise what a difference they can make," says special needs play worker Surbjit Kaur.

She works at Woodgate Adventure Playground in Leicester and her work is funded by Children in Need.

A grant pays for 30 children, aged five to 14, to be supported by staff at the facility.

One of the children who has benefited is Amar.

Amar, 12, has autism and Ms Kaur said that when he first started attending the project he was timid, did not speak and his favourite word was no.

"I've tried to help by socialising him with the other children and giving him a bit more confidence - showing him that things aren't scary," she said.

"First of all he would not go on the slide. Now he goes on whatever he wants.

"He has gained confidence, is talking more and is a lot happier," she said.

Play opportunities

Maxine Hay, the scheme's senior play development worker, said the adventure playground gave less privileged children a chance to exercise in a fun and safe environment.

"A lot of the children that come to our playground come from parents with low incomes so they can't access the facilities other children can.

"This gives them the opportunity the wouldn't otherwise have.

"They come to see that it doesn't matter if you don't have the same abilities as other children - you can still play in the same way," she said.

Children in Need currently have at least 24 active grants in Leicestershire amounting to £1.1m.

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