Some information about the centres who help bring our Treasure Baskets to life
About our unique Treasure Baskets...
All our Treasure Baskets are handmade in the UK using British willow (some organic – depending upon the harvest!) This makes every Treasure Basket unique, but it doesn’t end there. Over half of the ‘treasures’ in each Basket are made by adults with learning difficulties or physical disabilities so the contents are special too.
Play to Z works in partnership with a number of centres in the UK for adults with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. This is a real ‘win-win’ because:
- The centres make gorgeous items which make our Treasure Baskets unique and help give them a ‘wow’ factor for children.
- The members’ special talents are valued and staff freed up to do their jobs - we have worked with the Centres to ensure that all the items can be 99% made by members rather than staff.
- The Centres get a small income from members work.
- Adults with learning difficulties/physical disabilities are positively portrayed in the community.
- The work provides job satisfaction and increases members’ self-esteem.
- You can feel good about buying an ethical and environmentally friendly resource that is really going to benefit children.
About the Centres we work with...
After three years of working with Centres around the country, carefully selecting objects that work both for the Members who make them and the children who will be playing with them, Play to Z is delighted that the Centres now contribute to over half of the items in each Treasure Basket. From the pottery pebbles, lavender bags, knitted ‘teddies’, scrunchies and balls, to felt or chamois scrunchies and key fobs, every item helps give a unique 'made with love' feel. Involvement of the Centres hasn’t stopped there as one of the most popular developments has been the de-labelling process carried out by one Centre. It doesn’t sound like a fun job but for some of the members this is the only time they ever get to follow a job through from the beginning to the end. The production line of soapy bowls of water is also a great hit with staff who have been freed up to focus on other things, whilst bringing in a modest income and occupying Members in work.
One of the Centres makes the following for Play to Z:
Pottery Pebbles - Each pebble is unique with a different patterned indentation and glaze. The responses from adults and children are remarkable, one child from a pre-school asked ‘what is it?’ the practitioner said that she didn’t know and after a few minutes pause the child then said ‘it’s a biscuit!’ This magically shows how these objects can be whatever a child wants them to be – perfect for encouraging creativity and imagination.
Lavender Bags - Every lavender bag is a mini work of art. All the Members who make the batik fabric which gets transformed into gorgeous lavender bags, are free to choose how to decorate the fabric. The only bit they don’t do is to iron off the wax at the end. The members enjoy what they are doing and every piece becomes unique and equally beautiful as the next. Staff time is freed up as no time consuming sewing work is involved. After the initial few lavender bags were delivered it quickly became apparent that members wouldn’t be able to keep pace with demand. A meeting revealed the problems – members loved making the batik but not sewing so this was falling to staff to do. This was quickly remedied by us buying the batiked fabric instead and paying a seamstress to transform them into lavender bags.
De-labelling - De-labelling some of the labels from the metal and wooden products for the treasure baskets is proving a great hit, with a bowl of soapy water the production team take pride in completing the task and this is one of the most popular task for members and staff alike.
Woollen Balls, Teddies, Purses and Scrunchies
Play to Z also works in partnership with another centre for the disabled. Under the inspirational leadership of volunteer Audrey, the members of the centre make the gorgeous knitted purses, knitted balls, knitted teddy bears, felt or chamois scrunchies, cloths and much more. Members like Queenie, Shirley, Maurice and Joan have helped to make our Treasure Baskets special. They've also really enjoyed the challenge of making mountains of balls etc and are constantly asking 'what else can we make?'
Recently, we have started to work with another local centre that make our handmade, solid-wood flower rings used in our stacking hoops resource and wooden animal shapes for our treasure baskets and Sensory Tales.
The centre provides services for people who are disadvantaged through disability, through birth, accident, illness, stroke, mental health, early dementia or lifestyle. It offers members the chance to socialise and build confidence in a stimulating and enjoyable environment. As well as learning lots of new art & craft and vocational skills!