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January 6, 2010

Playbusters SURF to victory

A record number of entries – over 100 -  were submitted for the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) Annual Awards for best practice in community regeneration.  Lots of great projects from around the country. The winners of the People category was a local organisation called Playbusters from Glasgow’s East End who deliver all sorts of educational projects – including Easy Spanish workshops

Playbusters is a grassroots voluntary organisation that provides a broad range of educational projects for children, families and the wider community within the East End of Glasgow. The organisation covers nine neighbourhoods working with over 300 people each week, and has a board comprises local parents and grandparents who have experience in developing other community projects.  Three years ago, an inter-generational project highlighted a lack of opportunities for young and older people in these neighbourhoods to mix. To help tackle this problem, Playbusters established a programme of collaborative working between schools and older people, providing opportunities to learn new skills and enjoy visits to places of interest. The programme has acted as a catalyst to break down barriers and has opened up the Playbusters initiative to older generation.

One of the most innovative features in the Playbusters programme is in the provision of ‘Easy Spanish’ workshops. These workshops offer a unique family learning experience, and a ‘hidden’ educational agenda in a fun and communicative environment. The workshops are having a visible impact upon the number of children who move on in education, and as demand has grown substantially the project has now formalised a partnership with John Wheatley College. In addition, ‘Easy Spanish Football’ has been developed, to reach out to underachieving youths and funding for this project has come via Celtic Football Club.
The programme also includes a practical environmental project that was developed through engagement with local Eco-School committees. Participating groups took part in the creation of community gardens in several neighbourhood locations, and the project has also developed a rooftop garden and an allotment. The environmental work has provided older people an opportunity t o volunteer, while 12 younger members of the community have become  Playbusters Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteers.

In an area of high disadvantage and exclusion, Playbusters has provided rea opportunities for local people to become involved with the project in a voluntary capacity, and to later progress onto paid sessional work. The benefits cover not only individuals, but entire families, and makes for a more cohesive community. Project funding originally came through the Standing Up to Antisocial Behaviour Award, with support from a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. A grant was later awarded by The Big Lottery Fund in Scotland to roll the project out across the city’s East End.

For more information, contact Margaret Layden on 0141 551 0071 or