The importance of play for children’s well-being has been emphasised at Pembrokeshire’s second ever play conference held at Folly Farm.
The conference entitled ‘Play Matters to Me’ was addressed by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Professor Sally Holland.
Wales is the first country to introduce legislation to support the rights of the child to play.
Fronted by young people themselves, the conference offered a packed programme of presentations, films, music, sketches and much more
It showcased and celebrated the myriad opportunities for play that are taking place regularly throughout the County, highlighting how important it is that every child has many opportunities to play.
Among the 250 plus audience who attended were children from local primary and secondary schools as well as delegates from the private, public and voluntary sectors.
The opening musical item, `Into the Meadow`, was composed by Sir Thomas Picton pupil Ella Townsend who won a competition to write an anthem for the conference. She performed it herself along with Elizabeth Ross (flute) and Dr Stuart Evans (piano).
The day’s keynote speaker was the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Professor Sally Holland, who told the conference that play was vital for children.
She went on: “Play is a right that only children have. It is how they relax and have fun and also how they learn about relationships with other people and the world around them. It is also vital for helping children keep fit and healthy – physically and emotionally.
“It is therefore encouraging to see Pembrokeshire promoting play so actively through this conference.”
Professor Holland praised the conference’s two young facilitators. Gabriel Haslam and Bethany Roberts who kept events running smoothly
During proceedings, the newly updated Pembrokeshire Play Strategy was launched.
This strategy ensures that everyone is working to provide the play opportunities that children in Pembrokeshire say are important to them and sets out a clear vision and mission for play throughout the County.
Conference organiser, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Play Officer, Damian Golden, said he was delighted with the success of the Conference.
He added: “It has captured the attention of a great many people and highlighted the right to play. I would now like to see everyone working in closer proximity to ensure that play opportunities are even more abundant throughout Pembrokeshire.”