The Power of Child’s Play

Playful Lives is the name of a new Children North East project that has been keeping families entertained in their own back yards.

Lockdown has been harder for some families than others and this project, based in Newcastle’s West End, has helped alleviate some of the stress parents have been suffering.

Mum, Lisa France and her three children, Lyla, three; Joseph, six and Thomas, five, have been shielding since March because of Joseph’s asthma.

Young children painting fence with water

James and Lyla painting their fence with water.

So Lisa loved having our playworkers, Lorna, Paula and student social worker, Lauren along to give them some time. Lisa, a teaching assistant at a local school, said:

“Playful Lives has been great because the children have had no interaction with anyone other than me. I love them and they love me but they must be sick of me by now. Just the fact that there’s three extra pairs of hands here today, even for just half an hour to an hour, it’s brilliant!”


The Playful Lives team have used old cardboard boxes to make a pirate ship with the children as well as organising games of hide and seek.

Playful Lives is part of Newcastle City Council’s Best Summer Ever, a holiday activity scheme aimed at supporting the city’s five to 18-year-olds during the school holidays.

Our charity is working closely with the West End Schools Trust, a charitable educational trust formed by eight primary schools, and other partners to create a multi-agency Children’s Community in this part of the city. There’ll also be an ongoing research element to the work overseen by Newcastle University.

Schools like Bridgewater Primary have recommended families who feel they could benefit from the Playful Lives project to engage with our team.

Andrew and Shirley Poste’s family have also enjoyed Playful Lives. They have two daughters, Maddison, who’s nine and Tamzin, ten. Shirley said:

“This has kept the kids really entertained and they look forward to them coming.”