Mr Lanning, Community Engagement Officer, reported that the Ipswich
Community Playbus provided facilities
for early years learning and offered 8 free play session stops per
week during school terms, with one stop in South East Ipswich on
Ravenswood. The Playbus was applying
for a total of £10,000 across the five Area Committees, split
in accordance with the number of stops offered in each
Councillor Connelly: The Playbus often
has parents arriving by car as there are no stops in Gainsborough
– why doesn’t the Playbus
Ms Mandy Potter, Ipswich Community Playbus Coordinator, reported that the Ravenswood stop had been running for 10 years and always had full numbers. Each stop had to be in a safe location and have room for the bus to park up. The Playbus went where the need was and there was a constant need on Ravenswood.
Councillor Debman: Does the
Playbus have disability access? If more
funds were available, could more stops be offered, e.g. in
Gainsborough or Holywells?
There was a limit on the number of stops that could be supported, as each session ran for 2 hours plus set up/set off time, but there was a potential for more stops. A funding bid was being made to SCC in conjunction with the Treehouse Centre for a stop on Hawke Road/Roebeck Road.
Councillor Knowles: The Playbus has
lost its principal funding partner, SCC, who no longer considered
it a priority for them, and has used nearly half of its funding
over the last 2 years. The future of
Children’s Centres was also in jeopardy; there is concern
about how the Playbus can fund itself
in future years.
There has been considerable outlay recently as the engine of the bus failed and a generator was also required to provide lighting and heating, which accounted for approximately £17,000. The amount of funding available varied from year to year, but the aim was to keep the Playbus on the road; however, the need from young families has never dropped.
Councillor Knowles: The level of expenses has not changed, but the
income has dropped from roughly £84,000 in 2011/12 to
£31,000 in 2015/16, how is this being addressed?
Applications for funding would continue to be made to various organisations, e.g. Children in Need, and an application for funding was being submitted for an extra stop on Hawke Road.
Councillor Cook: Does the service need to be provided on a bus
– could it be provided at a fixed community venue
Families have already highlighted that some Children’s Centre services had been cut and have asked what we could do. The Playbus provided a unique service right at the heart of the community.
Local resident: The Playbus is unique
and children like that the activities are provided on a bus.
Perhaps Lottery funding could help or use the back of the bus for
advertising to help raise income. The
bus provides a different environment to a Children’s Centre
and children find it exciting because it is a bus.
Local resident: As a child, I was attracted to being on the bus
rather than in a room. It should
continue unless it stops paying its way or numbers
dwindle. It is a valuable attraction
and children look forward to it coming around.
Councillor Barber: It is reassuring to hear that there is still a
need for the Playbus and that it is
valued in the community.
that the South East
Area Committee approve funding of £1,250 from the South East
Area Committee for the Ipswich Community Playbus as a contribution towards the running costs
of 8 weekly play session stops across Ipswich.
Reason: The Ipswich Community Playbus is a long established and valued ‘Early Years’ provision for families across Ipswich and beyond