Media Release: Glasgow project that pioneered street play in East End marks ten years

A PROJECT that pioneered urban street play in Scotland and transformed the lives of young people growing up in one of the country’s most deprived communities, marks its tenth anniversary this month [15 October 2010].

Possibilities East End Kids (PEEK) was the first in Scotland to introduce the idea of ‘urban street play’ – free play sessions supervised by play wardens –  to help get children and young people back out playing on the streets, many of which had become no-go areas.

Speaking on behalf of the project, Karen Craig, Local Person and chair of PEEK;

“Years ago the streets in this area would have been full of children and young people playing outside.

“But parents’ fears about the safety of their children combined with high levels of violence, alcohol and drug misuse and prostitution, meant that many kept their children in.

“PEEK has changed all that. We started small but we now run around 30 street play sessions a month across eight sites in the east end of the city.

“Through getting children and young people involved in the play sessions and volunteering, we’ve helped to turn the lives around of many youngsters who come from various family backgrounds in a deprived part of the city.”

Local young people, who have experienced the impact PEEK has made first hand, are keen to help the organisation celebrate its 10th birthday.

Charlene McCall said:

“I started coming to the PEEK Singing Group in 2000 and liked it so much that I began to join other PEEK clubs. It has helped me to gain experience and confidence, so much so that I now volunteer with PEEK. I can‘t even imagine life without PEEK!”

David McAllister said:

“Over the past ten years, not only has PEEK allowed me to grow and given me amazing opportunities, it has also allowed me to pass on what I learnt throughout my time with the project to the children and young people of the groups that I now work with.”

PEEK was set up in 2000 with only one paid member of staff supported by a voluntary management committee.  Funding from sources such as Church of Scotland, Children in Need, Community Planning and Inspiring Scotland has helped the project to expand its remit to work with children and young people aged 5–25 throughout the East Centre and Calton area of Glasgow.

Begins a spokesperson: “The area in which PEEK works is widely acknowledged as one of the most deprived communities in Scotland.

“Statistics from East Glasgow Community Health Profile (February 2008) say that over 30 per cent of the population are defined as income deprived (114 per cent higher than the Scottish average); that single parent households make up nearly 40 per cent of all households containing children; and that almost 2,210 children are social work clients.

Also, the teenage pregnancy rate is 42 per cent above the national average; 39 per cent of children live in workless households; there were 264 drug-related deaths from 1998 to 2008 (227 per cent higher than the Scottish average) and just over 11 per cent of 16-19 year-olds in the local area were officially unemployed according to official labour market statistics (Nomis, August 2009) compared to eight per cent in Glasgow as a whole.

“Today, PEEK is working harder than ever to give children and young people a high quality, diverse and innovative programme of structured arts, leisure and free play activities. Dozens of young people from the community volunteer with the project every year.”

PEEK facts:

• Runs approximately 200 street play sessions over 420 hours in the last six months, in eight different areas across the city’s east end
• Has worked with over 850 children and young people aged 5-21 over the last ten years
• Has expanded its reach and now works across the east centre and Calton area of Glasgow
• 300 children and 70 young people take part in PEEK activities in a typical week, with a particularly high level of demand from primary school children.
• Has won many awards for its work including Winners- Nancy Ovens Play Award 2010-Provision of the best play opportunities for development through Play, Strathclyde Youth Awards- Community Project of 2009; Strathclyde Youth Awards – Adult Volunteer of the year 2010; SOS – Sense over Sectarianism
• Secured and managed over £1.5 million of grants and donations from funders and supporters
• Contributed to a range of local partnerships and networks  including the International Youth Exchange Programme – more than 20 young people have experienced an exchange to Europe; the East End Youth Bank – a funding body led by young people for young people. Over £5,000 of grants given out to local individuals and groups.
• PEEK employs 14 local people, four of whom have come up through the project since 2000 and has many young people who volunteer with it: 12 young people currently give at least 2.5 hours per week to the project

For further information, to arrange filming, photography or interviews please contact Melodie Crumlin, project development manager, PEEK (Possibilities for East End Kids) Tel: 0141 552 5757 mobile: 0790 4672891

Notes for Editors

1. The PEEK tenth Birthday party – a community Fun day – will take place on Friday the 15th of October. There will be a large number of events and photo opportunities at various locations, including street play sessions, a balloon launch, cutting a tenth birthday cake, the burying of a time capsule, a ‘mini Olympics’ and an inflatable challenge. For details contact Gillian Cuthbertson on 0141 552 5757.

2. PEEK is based at Gallowgate Parish Church, St. Luke’s Building, 17 Bain Street, Glasgow, G40 2JZ or find us on Facebook.

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Contact: Melodie Crumlin, Project Development Manager, PEEK
Phone: Tel: 0141 552 5757 mobile: 0790 4672891