Play group turns a page to help families

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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YMCA Play in the Park's Jamie Scally with Camellia Shalev-Tutton and her son Daniel.
Camera IconYMCA Play in the Park's Jamie Scally with Camellia Shalev-Tutton and her son Daniel. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Worried about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on young people, The Y Albany has reimagined and ramped up its support programs.

Formally known as YMCA, the youth organisation has adapted its services to make sure they are still accessible in a time of social distancing.

One such program is Play in the Park, which has been running for 10 years.

Play in the Park normally uses outdoor group session for parents and children to bring together a diverse range of families.

Co-ordinator Jamie Scally, better known around Albany as Jamie the Clown, said The Y team knew they had to act fast.

He said he wanted to help maintain some normality for children during the virus crisis and give parents a forum to connect.

“Without hesitation we ceased face-to-face sessions as small children are notoriously bad at social distancing and moved promptly to providing Play in the Park Online utilising YouTube and Facebook,” he said.

“We have been teaming up with other organisations such as the Albany Library to provide learning activities.”

This week, Mr Scally started dropping off The Wiggles book packs from the Here to Help series. The books have been donated by Good360, Big W and The Wiggles to provide a framework for discussing important everyday lessons.

Play in the Park helps families across the Great Southern, from Albany to Katanning.

“Kids are most at ease when there is a routine and they have loads of time and support to process if things are not how they think they should be,” Mr Scally said. “It’s the simple things — mostly I have seen children upset that they can’t play with friends, play at the park, go shopping. They also have been picking up on the unavoidable added stress on the parents.”

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