How to run a Play Shaper seminar

Set a date for your event

Once you have checked the availability of your most senior participants and speakers, discuss possible dates for your event with your Play England contact.

Your Play England contact will complete a local priorities questionnaire with you, which will help tailor your Play Shaper event to the specific needs of your area. Based on this information the facilitators will contact you to discuss how to tailor the event.

Select a venue

Before booking a venue for your Play Shaper event, refer to the venue checklist to ensure details such as the following are considered:

  1. 1. Is the venue available on the date you require?
  2. 2. Is the venue accessible for people with limited mobility?
  3. 3. Is the venue easy to reach by public transport?
  4. 4. Does the venue hold 25 participants and is there enough room for participants to move about for activities?
  5. 5. Are there any access restrictions (e.g.: closing times)?
  6. 6. Are there any catering facilities/restrictions?
  7. 7. Are there any parking facilities/restrictions?
  8. Invite your participants

    Invite people who hold key strategic positions across the Local Strategic Partnership, children’s services and key voluntary and community groups. This may include representatives from planning, transport, housing, landscape architecture, regeneration, health, education and extended services, and the police.

    From the voluntary and community sector you may want a representative from your play partnership or association and your adventure playground/s. Discuss your invite list with your Play England contact to ensure there is a balance between the local authority and key voluntary and community representatives.

    Every Play Shaper event should involve senior figures appropriate for the local area, even if only for a portion of the day. This could include the local member of parliament, local councillors, the director of the local play association, local play champion, the director of children’s services and the director of parks or planning.

  9. Involving such people will help the event achieve maximum impact and ensure effectiveness beyond the day.

  10. Try and have senior figures confirm their attendance early and then name them on your invite letters. This may in turn help to get others to attend your Play Shaper event.

  11. Remember, the aim of the Play Shaper event is to help participants build their understanding of the importance of play opportunities and enable them to co-create environments that will empower communities to take ownership of a local play provision. Participants should be decision makers within their professional areas who can affect change.

  12. Keep in mind:

  13. 1. The benefits for participants attending and how their work may be improved.

  14. 2. The mechanisms for inter-departmental support and timescales. Other departments and organisations may work more slowly or quickly than you do so consider what you need to do to ensure they are represented.

  15. 3. The minimum number of participants required to ensure course viability.

  16. Speak to your Play England contact for advice on the feasibility of delivering the event if: the numbers are low; there is not a well balanced mix of participants from across a suitably wide range of departments; or the majority of participants are not key decision makers. Please send a copy of your invite list to your Play England contact.

  17. Promoting your event

  18. The following steps will help you promote your event:

  19. 1. Inform your press or communications department about the event as soon as you have set a date. Share the What is Play Shaper? briefing with this department so it can promote the event through its newsletters, websites and email updates.

  20. 2. Send your letters of invitation to the identified participants.

  21. 3. Follow up with a phone call to see how the invitation was received.

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Play Shaper online learning

Use the online learning environment after you have participated in a Play Shaper seminar. You can access learning materials, online discussions and an assessment quiz that accredits your continuing professional development.

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