The Playbarn is a play work setting based in the Northfields area of Leicester, which, until recently was a run-down facility with limited resources, expected to serve approximately 100 children and their families. It offers play facilities after school and in the holidays and specialist provision to children with disabilities and learning needs, employing staff specifically from Children in Need to support them. The Playbarn is part funded by the Local Authority but the remaining support is raised through fundraising and applications to charities for grants.

The Playbarn supports the local community and the children and families that attend in many different ways. Food donations from a local church are given out at a food bank at the Playbarn to its visitors and an arrangement with a local farm means that any waste foods are sent to feed the pigs. In return they receive free day trips to the farm for the children to experience something quite special. The setting also give out much needed items such as coats and trainers to children who do not have appropriate clothing for the weather.

Owing to the large number of children attending the Playbarn who have disabilities or special educational and learning needs, there is a sensory room for their benefit. However due to lack of funding the room had very little equipment and was in desperate need of decorating and resources. Members of our Midlands Childcare team arranged to decorate this sensory room and restore it to its former glory for their Give a Day of Your Time (GADOYT) project, agreeing to spend two days to clean, clear out, decorate and set up the new sensory room.

The team also secured an Interserve Employee Foundation grant and received a whopping £2500 to support their efforts to decorate and equip the area, creating the wow factor the room needed . As you can imagine both the Playbarn and ILE team were very excited!

The Interserve Employee Foundation (IEF) is organised by Interserve volunteers who are passionate about improving the lives of people in the communities where we live and work. This includes involvement in regional, national and international community, charitable and volunteering activities, through our employee donating their time  and grant giving schemes.

The team enjoyed putting their nursery nurse and creative skills to good use in the Space & Sea themed sensory room and the results speak for themselves, generating a message of heartfelt thanks from the team at the Playbarn:

“We from Northfields Playbarn would like to send you this message as a thank you for all of your hard work last week. You all have given us a fantastic looking sensory room for the disabled children that use our service. The children and the staff was left speechless with the job that you had done to get the sensory room looking the way it does. Again we would like to say a very big thank you!

If you want to know more about the Interserve Employee Foundation and the projects they’ve undertaken, visit their Facebook pages