Organisations in the Ballymun area along with the Primary Principals Network identified the need for one to one / group play therapy for vulnerable children in Primary school. This need has been highlighted further by the disruption of the Covid 19 pandemic.
This need was identified by organisations such as Youngballymun working intensively with families in the area, alongside the Primary Principals Network. It was also raised by Youngballymun and other organisations at the Ballymun Child and Family Network Meetings (A Network of more than 25 local organisations and schools who work together collaboratively to support children and families in the area). This need was supported by the CYPSC Safe from Harm sub group too. A survey among the Principals of 11 primary schools identified that more than 300 children could benefit from play therapy. They also identified approximately 250 children attending the schools are either living in or have lived in emergency accommodation. Many children are now living in adverse circumstances in which the safe haven and structure of school is the main escape. This is the reason that the play therapy will be based in the local schools. The need for this project is crucial – even more so now following over two years living with the impact of Covid 19. Many children are presenting with school refusal and severe anxiety.
A Steering Group was established to explore and develop play therapy across the 11 schools in Ballymun.
A pilot project took place in OLV Boys school to explore how play therapy might be used in a school setting. (April – June 2021) Valuable insights were made to the running of such a programme in OLVB and other schools in Ballymun.
Further funding was sourced from Tusla, DCC, DAA and Youngballymun to develop this further across four schools in the autumn of 2021. 12 children received play therapy across the four schools with three play therapists involved. The Steering Group then secured funding from Ballymun Social Regeneration Fund to expand the Project in February 2022.
Currently (May 2022), there are four play therapists working across seven schools with 27 children in Ballymun. It is hoped by the Autumn that all 11 schools will have some play therapy supporting vulnerable children in their schools.
Youngballymun would like to thank all the Steering Group for their work on this important Project. Also the Ballymun Social Regeneration fund, DAA, DCC and Tusla for their financial support which enabled the expansion of the Project.
For further information, contact: Fiona Gallagher: – email@example.com