Organisations in North Devon could receive funding for new schemes that encourage children to spend more time playing. North Devon Council is applying to the BIG Lottery Fund for a grant to improve play facilities throughout the district and local organis

Organisations in North Devon could receive funding for new schemes that encourage children to spend more time playing.North Devon Council is applying to the BIG Lottery Fund for a grant to improve play facilities throughout the district and local organisations are invited to put forward ideas for projects that simply help young people play. Successful schemes are likely to be free to enter, allow children to choose how they play, let them come and go and involve young people in their own development. Organisations must also show the schemes are needed by the local community and the project is able to continue running once the funding period of three years is over.Councillor David Butt, lead member for cultural services (youth and diversity) said: "We are doing this because we believe that all children and young people, no matter what their background or circumstances, should have the opportunity to benefit from play to help achieve their full potential."Rachael Allen, Community Development Co-ordinator and project lead, said: "Play matters because it allows children to test their boundaries while keeping them safe from harm. It boosts self-esteem, encourages social interaction and contributes to healthy growth and development. We look forward to working with a range of local partners to increase quality play opportunities in the district."For further information and to request an expression of interest form (return by March 18), contact Rachael Allen, Community Development Co-ordinator, on (01271) 388863 or email rachael.allen@northdevon.gov.uk.