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The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

Scottish play charities receive funding to help local communities get outside to play

Scottish play charities receive funding to help local communities get outside to play


25 Charities across Scotland will share £500,000 of funding to develop and deliver more free outdoor play opportunities in local communities, aimed at improving children’s health and wellbeing.

Creative outdoor play sessions, an outdoor playgroup for children and their dads, nature play spaces for local communities and gardening sessions are just some of the brilliant initiatives being supported by the Scottish Government Outdoor Community Play Fund (OOCP) and delivered by Inspiring Scotland.

All sessions will be delivered in community spaces such as parks, nature spaces, playgrounds, streets and woodlands. Sessions are unstructured and child-led, allowing the children to use their creativity and imagination to develop their own games and ways to have fun.

Celia Tennant, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland said:

“Playing outdoors is vital for children’s health and wellbeing; it boosts physical activity, promotes mental and physical wellbeing and supports children to learn essential social and emotional skills.”

“This fund will help create opportunities when play, reconnecting with friends and having fun, is never more needed.”

Elizabeth Dewar, Project Manager from Project 31 will deliver their Pop Up Play Project based in South Lanarkshire said:

“The Organised Outdoor Community Play Fund will provide children and families with opportunities to get outdoors and play in their communities, to have adventures, explore, make friends, take on challenges and enjoy new experiences. We can’t wait!”

Judith Walsh, Head of Development & Operations -Starcatchers will deliver their Starcatchers creative play project in Glasgow City said:

“Starcatchers is thrilled to be part of the Organised Outdoor Community Play portfolio. We believe in the power of play for children right from their earliest days, and this funding will enable families and their babies and toddlers to explore magical, creative experiences outdoors. With the support of Early Years Artists, very young children and their families play together, expressing themselves through art, music, dance, drama and by being active outdoors.”

  • A list of all 25 charities and project descriptions can be found here.
  • Find out more about the OOCP fund here. 


In 2020-21, the fund supported over 5,000 children in Scotland through 23 play charities. This round of funding has been increased from £380,000 (2020/21) to £500,000 (2021/22) to support play sector charities to deliver free community-based play opportunities for children and their families.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor play has been recognized as increasingly vital for children and parents alike. By encouraging families to play outside together, charities help them build confidence and resilience whilst also benefitting from the health and wellbeing benefits of time spent outdoors.

The Scottish Government Outdoor Organised Community Play Fund (OOCP) is delivered and managed by Inspiring Scotland.

Since 2009 Inspiring Scotland has been driving forward a cultural change and awareness programme of why outdoor play and learning is vital for children’s health, wellbeing and development through its Thrive Outdoors work. It has funded free play in communities, Active Play in schools and been a key influencer in the development of outdoor early years education and childcare. Playing and learning outdoors is fundamental for all our children to achieve their full potential –boosting health, wellbeing and development – and is a universal right.

Connect and stay up to date with what Thrive Outdoors and its portfolio charities are up to on Twitter (@Thrive_Outdoors) and Inspiring Scotland (@InspiringSland).


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