ChangeX, the community engagement platform, has launched an €80,000 play-focused community fund, with support from the LEGO Foundation, to enable communities across Dublin to start proven learning through play projects and empower community groups, parents and caregivers to create more playful experiences for children. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to ensuring children globally are given opportunities to learn through play which develops in them essential skills to thrive in life and reach their full potential. Its ‘Build a World of Play’ campaign, part of the LEGO brand’s 90th anniversary celebrations, is a global initiative to raise awareness of the importance of playful learning.
As a proud partner to the LEGO Foundation, ChangeX is supporting the Build a World of Play campaign in Ireland with the launch of the Ireland Community Play Fund to activate more learning through play projects in communities, mobilise local community changemakers and scale proven play innovations. The Ireland Community Play Fund aims to support up to 35 teams across Ireland to start new community projects. Groups can choose from a carefully-curated portfolio of 13 proven ideas that have already had a positive impact in other communities around the world.
The ideas on offer include a mix of local ideas and proven innovations from around the world, including FIRST LEGO League, a programme that allows students of all ages to develop STEM skills in a hands-on, fun way, and Urban Thinkscape, which empowers communities to transform public spaces into joyful learning opportunities by, for example, installing a puzzle wall at a local bus stop.
Also included in the diverse and exciting portfolio of ideas is Playful Streets, an initiative of A Playful City, Ireland’s first not-for-profit focused on creating more playful, engaging and inclusive cities with and for communities. “Playful Streets is an easy, social and low cost way to create child friendly play spaces on your street by opening it to play and temporarily limiting traffic. Play can bridge gaps – with different generations mixing, teaching others games they play or played and bringing outdoor fun into the fabric of your neighbourhood,” said Neasa Ní Bhriain, creative director at A Playful City.
Groups who apply for funding to start one of the 13 projects on offer in the Ireland Community Play Fund will have 30 days to build a small team and design an action plan. On completing these steps, they will be eligible for seed funding of up to €5,500. Earlier this year, ChangeX successfully partnered with the LEGO Foundation and social impact agency Purpose to launch eight community funds across Brazil and Colombia, empowering up to 200 local organisations to create more playful experiences for children by adopting a range of inspiring play-related ideas.
“This continuation of our exciting partnership with the LEGO Foundation will allow us to bring proven play innovations to communities across Ireland and ensure that as many children as possible are able to develop essential skills by learning through play,” said Paul O’Hara, ChangeX’s Chief Executive and Co-founder.
Euan Wilmshurst, Head of Advocacy and Communication at the LEGO Foundation, said: “Through the Build a World of Play campaign, we want to make a real difference to the lives of children across the world. We are excited to continue our partnership with ChangeX, which will support more communities to provide opportunities for children to learn through play. Play is an essential part of a child’s learning and development. Our research has shown that learning through play develops holistic skills in children that are critical for tackling life’s challenges. ”
As part of the wider Build a World of Play campaign, ChangeX and the LEGO Foundation are also working with other Irish organisations to support playful learning. For example, Street Feast, an initiative that aims to build neigbourhood and community networks, will host its 2022 event on Sunday June 26. It is providing 200 Playful Street Feast PlayBoxes containing games, activities and resources to involve people of all ages in the festivities.