Developing life skills and health through unstructured play 

 The Venny’s programs encourage children to develop skills and build resilience. We provide opportunities for unstructured play, safe risk-taking activities, creativity and connectedness. The skills young people gain through these programs helps them withstand the significant emotional and psychological demands of their home and school environments.

Based on a philosophy of inclusion, participation and connection, The Venny welcomes children and families from all backgrounds. It promotes community connection and integration by encouraging all people to see beyond common divisions caused by difference in race, culture, religion and socio-economic factors. Young people who feel engaged and have opportunities to participate, experience a better quality of life. They are better able to contribute to the creation of strong communities. In the long term young people who are valued and feel connected have better health and mental health as adults, 1 creating positive outcomes not only for themselves, but also for the wider community. The Venny’s non-threatening, non-institutional approach welcomes children and young people who would otherwise be reluctant to engage with mainstream support services.

The importance of play in childhood development 

The importance of play in child development is well documented. We know that children learn through play, in their relationships with other adults and children, and by doing things and manipulating their environments. 2 Play is a great leveller, crossing cultural and language barriers, creating bonds, leading to greater understanding and growth.

Safe and accessible

Where parents may restrict children’s physical activity and active free play due to safety fears, The Venny works to directly address these concerns. It is situated within a park, and is easily accessible from local schools and houses with safe road crossings. This encourages children to have independent mobility and provides their parents comfort knowing that there will always be staff to supervise. Whilst on site, children have access to amenities, food and a telephone.


3, 4, 5, 6,7

1.Preventing Youth Disengagement and Promoting Engagement- Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth- August 2008
2.Adventure Playgrounds: A children’s world in the city.
3.Lester, S, Russell, W (2010) Children’s right to play. An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. Bernard van Leer Foundation.
4.Ginsberg, K. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent bonds. American Academy of Pediatrics: 119(1): 182-191
5.Burdette, H & Whitaker, R (2005), ‘Resurrecting Free Play in Young Children Archives of Pediatric Adolescence Medicine, vol 159. 46-50
6.Hughes, B (2nd edition 2011) Evolutionary Playwork Reflective analytic practice. Routledge.
7.Brown, S (2010). Play. How it Shapes the brain. Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Melbourne: Scribe Publications.