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3.5.6 Leisure and Recreation


This chapter sets out the general principles in relation to leisure and recreation, which should be applied to all Looked After Children.

It should be read in conjunction with Activities and Transporting Children Procedure


  1. General
  2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films

1. General

  1. All Looked After Children must be encouraged to participate in recreational, social and leisure activities, suitable to their needs and interests, on a group and individual basis; within and outside their home. Any decision to authorise a child's participation in outdoor activities or dangerous pursuits will require the approval of the Designated Manager (Outdoor Activities).
  2. Children should have occasional opportunities to participate in special trips, outings and have at least one holiday per year. 
  3. Birthdays, name days, cultural and religious festivals must be celebrated.
  4. Children must be encouraged to pursue hobbies, recreational interests and sports.
  5. There should be a proper balance between free and controlled time in the child's daily routine.
  6. Risk Assessments must be completed before activities are undertaken and plans implemented to reduce or prevent identified risks.
  7. Where an activity or venue carry potential dangers, qualified or certified staff/instructors must be engaged/employed and checks must be made by the social worker or staff/carer in advance to ensure appropriate safety equipment is used and procedures to ensure appropriate supervision and safety are in place. Written parental consent should also be obtained.
  8. Children should have access to, and a choice in the selection of, newspapers, books and magazines suitable to their age and level of understanding
  9. Children should have access to, preferably ownership of, suitable toys, music, books and games.
  10. Transport used should not be marked in such a way as to distinguish it from an ordinary family vehicle, unless it has been received by a residential home as a charitable donation in which case it may carry the name of the donating charity.
  11. Children should be encouraged and enabled to make and sustain friendships with children of their own age outside the home. This may involve friends visiting the home, and reciprocal arrangements to visit friends' homes. 

See also Contact with Relatives and Friends Procedure.

2. Computers, Electronic Games, Videos and Films

  1. Children should be encouraged and supported to use computer technology, including the Internet, and electronic games suitable to their age and level of understanding.
  2. Children may only watch videos, television programmes or films designated for their age.