Leyland Playscheme celebrates 40 years

Youngsters climb on a giant inflatable in Worden Park during a week of events at Leyland Playscheme in 1977
Youngsters climb on a giant inflatable in Worden Park during a week of events at Leyland Playscheme in 1977

A holiday club which has been enjoyed by generations of children celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Leyland Playscheme was set up in 1974 and provides a host of activities for youngsters to enjoy in the summer holidays.

It runs for one week a year and is led by more than 200 volunteers.

Ian Bruce, who has been involved in organising the play scheme since 1993, said: “We get more than 1,000 children in the week. In our heyday, in 1995, we had 2,500 children.

“We went through a lull and we are growing again.

“We have more than 1,000 this time.

“We have workshops, arts and crafts, sports and games, and a climbing wall. It’s like a mini Glastonbury Festival for children.

“We take them out swimming, bowling, to the cinema, all sorts.”

The scheme is a charity, but parents are asked to make a contribution towards the cost.

Although it is based in Leyland, a free bus service collects children from around the area, going as far as Croston, Eccleston and towards Clitheroe.

Ian contacted the Guardian after seeing a photograph from Leyland Playscheme pictured on our Retro page.

He believes it was taken in 1995 and it made him realise how things have changed.

He said: “One thing that strikes me about that photograph is that there is no security fencing. Now, security is a huge point for us and we have fencing everywhere. Security is a key thing.”

Ian thinks the photograph shows children walking from the infants’ tent to the main show, just out of the shot.

He said: “The show is likened to a Saturday morning TV programme. There are funny game shows, gunge and lots of water if we get a red hot summer.

“Generally we play silly games, have singing, dancing, magicians, puppeteers, bands - a huge range of children’s entertainers.”

The Playscheme does not have a fixed base, but has been operating on an old cricket field at the junction of Stanifield Lane and Centurion Way. This year it will take place from August 4 to 8.

To find out more, go to www.playscheme.org.