Short Breaks: Holiday Playschemes & SOFA

Bath Area Play Project, operating since 1979, provides holiday playschemes for children with additional needs across the city. Please see our History section for more information. Our playschemes are funded through contracts with B&NES Children’s Services who determine which areas we work in.


Closed-access play provision: Holiday Playschemes

BAPP are commissioned to provide a range of services for disabled children. We offer playschemes for children aged 3 - 5, 5 - 12 and 12 – 19 years based at BOP, The Hut and Three Ways School in Bath. Our SOFA programme is for disabled young people aged 12+ years and involves a variety of fun, off site activities. These playschemes are for B&NES residents only and children must meet the Eligibility Criteria (please see tab to the right for more details).


We also work in partnership with Three Ways School, Fosse Way School, First Steps(BOP) and KIDS to offer additional playscheme settings so that there is specialised high quality play provision locally to where children and families live.


'Closed-access' means that children have to be pre-registered with BAPP and the setting has a pre-determined maximum number of children they can have attending one session (the capacity). You must book places in advance through BAPP for all the playschemes by completing a Booking Form and if you haven’t used our services before, you will also need to fill in a Registration Form. Information has to be provided by the child’s parent or carer about the child including contact details and details of any allergies.


Booking forms are sent out from the BAPP office 4-5 weeks prior to the play provision starting. There is limited transport provided to enable disabled children to access the play provision, many of whom come from across B&NES and not just in the immediate locality. 



SOFA (Summer of Fun Activities 12+)


The very popular SOFA (Summer of Fun Activities) programme has been put together by young people. The programme is designed for disabled  young people aged 12 – 19 years and is well supported by qualified and a dedicated staff team.


The programme is designed to support young people who might otherwise be involved in less positive activities so if you work with a group of young people or an individual young person who you think would benefit from taking part, please tell them about SOFA! SOFA is an ideal social opportunity which is age appropriate and relevant to young people and for many being with peers during the long summer break, makes a huge difference to maintaining and building their self esteem and confidence levels.



Our team


For all play provision staff undergo rigorous training to ensure they are fully aware of their responsibilities; health & safety where staff undertake daily checks and risk assessments of activities; child protection where staff understand their responsibilities; disability awareness where staff develop understanding of inclusion and the social model of disability; behaviour management where they develop strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour. All play provision is staffed by qualified and experienced playworkers including Threeways staff who are all DBS Checked. There will always be a qualified first aider at each play provision who has undertaken a 12 hour Paediatric First Aid training.


Playworkers have a very clear role – to facilitate and support children at play; playwork is not about controlling or dictating what children should and shouldn’t do, it is about ensuring children have access to appropriate resources and equipment, that they have space for play and there are people available if they choose to play with someone else.




You must book places in advance by completing a Booking Form and, if you haven't used BAPP before, you will need to fill in a registration form.


All our play provision follows the 7 best play objectives which are:

  1. The play provision offers choice and control that children have over their play, freedom to enjoy and satisfaction they gain from it.
  2. BAPP recognises the child's need to test boundaries and responds positively to that need.
  3. Play provision manages the balance between risk and keeping children safe from harm.
  4. Play provision maximises the range of play opportunities.
  5. Play provision promotes independence and self-esteem.
  6. Play provision encourages children's respect for others and offers opportunities for social interaction.
  7. Play provision fosters child's well-being, healthy growth and development, knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn.

This means that whilst there is no curriculum for play, no pre-conceived idea of what children should be doing or achieving, there is an understanding by the playwork profession that what we are providing for children is a range of experiences and opportunities for children to develop skills and confidence through play.


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All BAPP services contribute to the B&NES Children & Young people's Plan ©Bath Area Play Project 2014. Registered charity number 1013897