Posted by Gilly Oppenheim
The Rotary Club of Timaru members and the Charitable Trust have a strong focus on empowering children to reach their potential. Hence their donating $10,000.00 with the addition of $20,000.00 from the Bill Mackay Bequest to CPlay to create an environment for more stimulating and inclusive play for all ages and abilities which will be of benefit to many.
From Left: CPlay committee member Chris Fauth and his daughter Annabelle, CPlay Secretary & Charitable Trust member Lynette Wilson, Charitable Trust Member & Immediate Past President Jess Hewitson, CPlay Chair Owen Jackson (OJ), Charitable Trust Chair and Past President Bev Slooten, Charitable Trust Member & Honorary Club Member Ashley Miliken.
“Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-economic development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules”. Dr David Elkind.
This is exactly what CPlay is envisaging with its interactive variety of equipment and activities. Play has a very large role in how the human brain develops. Because play and development go hand in hand, your baby starts on their road to development through play from the moment they start moving. The current crisis around children’s physical, mental and intellectual health is brought about because today’s children have limited playtime. Previous generations of children disappeared on their own or in groups for hours of uninterrupted play, but the world has changed for today’s children. Whether they are at school, after-school activities or being directed around the playground, this new generation is not getting enough uninterrupted child-led play, and this is cause for great concern.
‘Child-led Play’ is where the child follows their own play urges.  It does not refer to the play during which the adult follows the child, or to play during which the child follows the adult. There are countless research studies and supporting statistics that highlight the many benefits that come from strong parent-child bonds. What isn’t always recognized, however, is the positive impact that a close relationship between a grandparent and grandchild can have on the happiness and wellbeing of the entire family. Simply put, having grandparents around is good for everyone. A healthy connection between a grandchild and his or her grandparent is beneficial to both sides of the relationship.
Through regular contact, a sense of emotional intimacy, and unwavering support grandparents are a valuable resource because they have so many stories and experiences from their own lives to share. Often children will listen to grandparents even when they are not listening to their parents or other adults. Grandparents often have more free time than the children’s parents, who are often both working, and through them, children can experience what a true, positive relationship should look like. Grandparents also offer an extra ear when kids need someone to talk to, because sometimes children just find it easier to open up and share their difficulties and problems with their grandparents. Grandparents can also offer an affordable childcare option and CPlay will provide excellent opportunities for both entertaining and stimulating their grandchildren.
CPlay will undoubtedly become a destination playground for Timaru, bringing joy to the families of our district and those visiting from further afield. 
Click on the link to view CPlay's Facebook page post -  a brief interview of Bev and Jess with OJ from CPlay
On behalf of the Club and Trust, Jess and Bev accepted a certificate of appreciation from OJ and the CPlay team.