Denise McVeigh, Play Development Officer at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council won the accolade for ‘Raising the profile of play’ at the ninth Annual Play Awards, sponsored by Play Scotland, in Eastbourne.
Mayor Cllr Paul Reid said: “Well done to Denise, her hard work and dedication has paid off. This was a very competitive category with nominees from right across the UK. Denise has been Council’s Play Development Officer since November 2016. In just 16 months Denise has worked steadily to promote play in the Borough and worked on a wide range of innovative play programmes. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to improving the life of all the citizens in the borough and beyond.”
Denise developed the ‘Pop Up Play Day’ programme, a range of events which encourage children to get outside and enjoy unstructured play opportunities. These events are delivered in some of the smaller, local green spaces in the borough to ensure rural children have as much access to play opportunities as their urban peers all year round.
Other initiatives have included working alongside the Mae Murray Foundation to develop a series of ‘All Ability Play Days’, working with the Fields in Trust charity to ensure green spaces in the Borough are safeguarded from future development and remain sites which can be enjoyed by residents for activities and play.
Denise said: “I was shocked and, of course, absolutely delighted with the result at the Annual Play Awards. I am committed to promoting the importance of play, especially unstructured play, and children’s (and adults) right to play. I am really pleased my work has been recognised at this level. As part of the Parks and Open Spaces team I am committed to providing a range of free, fun and educational activities and programmes for our residents. I would encourage everyone to get out to play, expecially coming into the summer months .”