SoLO says ‘YAS’ to £600,00 funding for Adventure Play!

Funding of £600,000 has enabled 4 successful community organisations to join together to improve the life chances of children and young people in North Solihull.

The money is from the Youth Investment Fund, which is jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Big Lottery Fund, using money raised by National Lottery players.

This new partnership called YAS (Youth Adventure Synergy) is comprised of SoLO Life Opportunities, Gro-Organic, Urban Heard and Meriden Adventure Playground Association.

Meriden Adventure Playground which, through the power of community action, remained open despite threats of closure in 2017, is now the base of the YAS programme, which brings together these organisations with one goal – to develop resilience in young people.

The YAS Partnership puts young people at the centre of all that they do, allowing them to build, develop and most importantly have fun.

Through this initiative young people from North Solihull have the opportunity to get involved in horticulture, building, marketing, paid work, event management, social action or they can just go and be kids; build fires, chop wood or fly through the sky with the playground’s undeniably unique swings, platforms and climbing frames. There really is something for everyone!

On top of this, SoLO, a well-established disability charity in Solihull, will grow the current programmes for children and young people with disabilities supported by specialist workers and volunteers. This will build on the inclusive approach already present in the playground and ensure that children and young people with disabilities are able to take an equal part.

Janet Down MBE, CEO of SoLO (the lead organisation in YAS) commented: “This is a really exciting programme to be apart of. It is no accident that we have chosen synergy in our partnership name because we have already seen the benefits of working together and this is just the beginning! We are hugely grateful to the Colebridge Trust (The Volunteer Infrastructure Organisation in Solihull) for their support in the bid writing stage”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This funding will help provide more opportunities for young people to build their confidence, discover new talents and reach their potential. It will be great to see young people getting involved in the design of these activities, making sure they reflect what matters to them and their lives.”

Over the next three years YAS will develop the service to offer opportunities for young people, 5 days a week, and will engage hundreds of young people. It crucially fills a gap within an area that has the challenges associated with deprivation. However, through YAS, young people will be given a chance to develop new skills, live healthier lives, build self-esteem with the aim to positive lifelong changes for the future.

contact Janet Down on 07947898220 or

Meriden Adventure Playground current opening hours are Tues – Fri 3:30 – 6:15pm Sat 10:30am-2pm and 3pm -6:15pm

The £40 million Youth Investment Fund is jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Big Lottery Fund using money raised by National Lottery players. 91 youth organisations across England have now benefited from funding. New Philanthropy Capital and the Centre for Youth Impact are working with all the organisations supported by the programme to evaluate the impact of their work with young people.

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We are delighted to be involved with, and enjoy the support of, all of these organisations and more.