What is Play?
PLAY in Bruce Grey is a strategy designed to help residents of Bruce and Grey counties become more physically active through regular play. PLAY in Bruce Grey is a partnership of 17 municipalities in Grey and Bruce; Grey County; Bruce County; Grey Bruce Health Unit, two School Boards, as well as many community volunteers.
Through education, promotion and local events, we hope to encourage residents young and old to stay active with fun activities in their community. With regular PLAY we believe our communities will thrive in health, wellness and communication.
Research supports the need for more unstructured, informal activity in everyone’s life. Play is an essential part of childhood development.
- Play is spontaneous, accessible to all and low cost/free.
- Play occurs when you want, how you want and respects personal choice.
- Play brings families, neighbourhoods and communities together.
- Play requires little or no skill and no special equipment.
- Play is a universal concept and provides personal meaning to physical activity.
- Play can happen anywhere and does not require special facilities or organization.
- Play is well understood by children and can be shared with their families.
Grey and Bruce counties have a higher proportion of residents who are considered obese than the provincial average (19% vs. 15%). In total, approximately, 52% of Grey Bruce residents were consdiered to be overwieght or obese. In 2005, only 56% of Grey Bruce residents were considered active or moderately active.
The goals of PLAY in Bruce Grey are:
- To educate residents about the health benefits of daily physical activity
- To create opportunities for a collaborative and community specific strategies to increase physical activity
- To increase the number of residents who are regularly physically active
Local PLAY Network (LPN) volunteers are community members that are passionate about making their communities more PLAY-friendly. Supported by their municipality and public health, PLAY Networks work within their municipality to encourage opportunities for physical activity. LPN’s are provided with a suggested ‘menu of choices’ and are encouraged to choose initiatives that are best suited to their municipality.
LPN’s are able to promote opportunities for play in their community by:
- providing education and awareness
- offering opportunities for skill building
- supporting neighbourhood collaborations
- facilitating supportive play environments
- advocating for community support for play
Our communities work collaboratively to promote PLAY as a key aspect of physical activity and overall health. We believe that all community members in Bruce & Grey should:
- have the right to play and have fun
- have opportunities to play to be healthy and active
- have access to play in safe neighbourhoods
- have a say about, make decisions about, and have choices in play
- have lots of opportunities to play together as a family; as well as with friends
Our network and municipalities aim to support activities and events that:
- acknowledge the importance of providing play opportunities to increase physical activity levels
- ensure that children, families, and older adults have the opportunity to play by providing safe and inviting play environments
- promote active modes of transportation, such as walking and cycling
- support the initiatives of the Bruce-Grey Physical Activity Plan
- strive to promote “PLAY your way, every day”
History of PLAY
PLAY in Bruce Grey was a strategy launched in 2007 amongst 17 municipalities, the Grey Bruce Health unit, two school boards and the Ministry of Health Promotion. In order to implement the strategy, a grant was secured through the Community’s In Action Fund and a PLAY committee was formed in October of 2007. Community Action Networks (CANS) were created within the 17 counties including representatives from Public Health, the municipalities and community volunteers. CANS were developed to help promote and rollout participation in their communities. To keep these groups up-to-date the PLAY Notes e-bulletin and PLAY-Friendly Report Card were developed to keep municipalities up-to-date on program news and they’re level of participation.
Funding was secured through the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the spring of 2010 to hire a coordinator over a two-year period to further promote and develop PLAY; as well as to ensure that the initiative is sustainable within each of the seventeen municipalities.
Today we remain active in all 17 municipalities across Grey Bruce. In 2018 we rolled out a new promotion campaign, including the launch of the refreshed website.