Emma Trunks

What’s New? – February

We’ve almost made it through another month, and as the days get longer, your admin only gets easier. Why? Because no matter the season, our development team are continually working their magic to improve our platform for you. Read on to find out what enhancements they’ve made in February.

See more from your homepage with updated session tiles

Your session tiles will now tell you more about your upcoming sessions. You can now see the name of the organiser, the number of spaces available and when each session is taking place.

New admin view for Events

We’ve introduced a new and improved admin interface to give you a better overview over your events. If you use the competitions plus feature, you’ll now see all the information you need in the Event Summary and Event Entries tabs, including the number of entries, entry deadlines and payment status.

Booking Windows

With booking windows, you can set a specific time period in which participants will be able to book your sessions. This helps you manage who is booking onto your activities and prevents people from booking all your listed activities too far in advance.

Adding memberships without charging a fee

If you’re a community admin and you use our memberships feature, you can now manually add members without charging them a membership fee. This means you don’t have to worry about charging them twice if they’ve already paid you offline.

See your list of bookings in chronological order

The list showing you who has booked onto your activities is now in order of when they booked, and we’ll also show you the exact date and time they booked. More information means you have more control over how you manage your bookings.

We’ve made activity finders easier to use

We’ve made some general improvements to our activity finders. It’s now easier to see the map view of and we’ve made the search filters more intuitive to use. Activities have never been easier for your participants to find!

Use tracking devices to add your hiking activity in challenges

If you’re using a Garmin device, you can now track your hiking activity for challenges within Playwaze.

HAF 2021 – Case Study

Last year, Playwaze helped 52,000 children to get active through the Holiday Activities & Food Programme. In 2022, we want to use our digital HAF programme solution to help even more.

Over the last year, we’ve worked in collaboration with organisations delivering HAF programmes to create a digital solution that works for them. As the programme grows, it is becoming more and more important to provide an understandable digital system for parents and providers. Currently, parents are having to use multiple different systems as well as pen-and-paper admin to do something as simple as book their children onto holiday activities. This is an inefficient process that could be preventing children that are most in need of the HAF programme from benefitting from it. At Playwaze, it’s our vision to make it so that parents can book and manage all their children’s activities within one familiar and easy-to-use system.

What is the Holiday Activities and Food Programme?

The Holiday Activities and Food Programme is a government-funded programme which aims to decrease the holiday experience gap for children from disadvantaged families who are less likely to have access to organised out-of-school activities and are more likely to experience social isolation. It was piloted between 2018 and 2020 and last year it was rolled out to 120 local authorities. In 2022, that number is increasing to 152.

At Playwaze, we’ve created a fully comprehensive digital solution to make it easy for organisations to manage and deliver their HAF programmes. How did we get here? Throughout 2021, we worked in collaboration with multiple local authorities and active partnerships to craft our solution from the ground up.

The Story So Far

Easter 2021

In February 2021, Playwaze partnered with the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership to deliver their region’s HAF programme. They wanted to make sure that parents and guardians with children eligible for free school meals could easily find and book holiday activities. Playwaze as a provider of search and book technology was approached to bring the programme to life digitally and deliver a search and book solution for the Easter holidays and beyond.

The beta solution was completed in time for the Easter launch and the programme saw more than 25 providers manage 55 multi-day holiday activities for which there were over 3,100 bookings and 18,000 unique searches were generated via the holiday activity finder. 

Shelley Woods, Project and Marketing Officer at Herts Sports Partnerships

“Playwaze recognised the timescales HSP were working to and understand the landscape of Active Partnerships. Their ability to be agile with respect to issues that we experienced meant that we could communicate progress with partners in a language that everyone understood. The [solution] Playwaze supplied the project with is relatively intuitive to use – a significant plus is that the data is collated effectively, making monitoring and evaluation simpler.”

Summer 2021

After the success of the Easter programme, Playwaze carried out a thorough debrief to produce feedback and identify how to create a fully fledged system for HAF management. We developed our platform and carried out onboarding for another four organisations: Active Cornwall, Northamptonshire Sport, Oxfordshire County Council, and Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP).

We wanted to put everything an activity provider might need to organise activities in one place – including a booking system, a payments solution (for non-free school meal places), reporting for their activities and a method for processing free school meals vouchers. 

On the participation end, we also wanted to make it easier for parents and carers to find activities for their children. In order to do this, we created custom branded activity finders for each organisation which listed all the activities in their area. Each finder had filters so that parents could find exactly what they were looking for – including activities that were age-specific and suitable for disabilities. They could also use the filters to find activities happening on specific dates and within a certain distance.

The summer programme proved to be an incredible success. Across the five organisations involved, we engaged a total of 258 activity providers, making over 770 holiday activities available to be booked by parents of children eligible for free school meals. There were a total of 107,500 bookings and 400,000 searches on the activity finder and more than 52,000 individual children participated across the five county areas.

Check out the video below to see what Active Cornwall achieved through their summer programme using Playwaze:

Winter 2021

In preparation for the winter programme, we implemented further improvements that made it easier for providers to organise their activities and for parents to manage their bookings.

We introduced the Activities Dashboard for providers to make it easy for them to see exactly who had made bookings for their activities and where there were still spaces available. We also streamlined the process of adding multiple activities in one go by implementing ‘block bookings’. To make things simpler for parents we introduced created a calendar that showed all of their upcoming bookings in a way that was easy to understand visually.

The winter programme, despite taking place on a smaller scale, returned some impressive numbers with 20,000 bookings for 1,500 activities. Overall Playwaze helped another 11,000 children to get active through attending holiday activities.

Watch the video to hear from Shelley Woods about her organisation’s experience working with Playwaze on HAF throughout 2021:

HAF x Playwaze in 2022

For 2022, we’ve made significant enhancements to our offering, bringing you a fully comprehensive off-the-shelf solution for running your HAF programme. With the experience gained from helping to coordinate three HAF programmes throughout the last year, we understand exactly what is required from a digital solution – for parents, for activity providers and for organisations.

How can Our Solution help your organisation?

For your organisation, we’ll set up a dedicated network within our system where you can see an overview of all your activity providers and the data from their activities so that everything you need for reporting is in one place.

We can even provide you with in-depth insights from your data with the Playwaze Analytics Dashboard which will show you real-time booking analytics including the number of unique participants, bookings, and cancellations you’ve had. You can also see a detailed breakdown of demographics, timeline tracking to help evaluate your marketing efforts, and heatmaps of booking locations.

For Providers – Organise, Manage and Report

We give providers everything they need to organise their activities. It’s easy for them to set up their activities and make them available to book, and they can even share and embed them on their own websites. They can then manage their bookings and see a full overview of everyone that’s attending their sessions as well as where they have spaces available through their Activities Dashboard.

Playwaze makes it easy for providers to collect booking data for monitoring and reporting purposes, and all booking registers can be exported as CSV files. We’ve also prioritised safety with GDPR-secure attendance tracking both in-app and online, including real-time reporting to delivery partner organisations.

For Parents – Search, Book and Manage

Playwaze provides parents with everything they need to find, book and attend activities. With our activity finders, they can search for particular types of activities within a certain range of dates and can specify whether they need to cater for disabilities. They can also see which activities are closest to them using the map view or see the entire range of what’s available using the list view.

They can create their own Playwaze accounts for free and this will give them full control over their bookings, allowing them to see all their upcoming bookings with a corresponding date, time and location and they can make cancellations if necessary. Parents can also connect multiple ‘linked accounts’ if they have more than one child so that everything they need is in one place.

If you want to know more about using Playwaze for your HAF Programme, visit our website and book call with our team:

What’s New – January

It’s the start of another new year and our development team has been working hard to improve the platform, so we’ve got plenty to update you on. Read about everything we’ve changed below.

Organise all your competitions in one with multi-competition create

Using the Events feature, you can now create multiple competitions in one swift process. For example, if you were running an athletics meet, you could create the sessions for the 100m, 200m, 400m and relay all in one create flow. You can do this as long as the events have similar characteristics.

We’ve made it easier to see your bookings in your calendar

You can now see an overview of all your upcoming bookings in your calendar, so you’ll never miss a session. Your calendar will also show any sessions for your linked accounts, meaning bookings for you and your children are all in one place.

Improved venues and locations features

We’ve improved the venues system so that it’s quicker for you to add the location of your sessions and easier for your participants to find it’s address. You can also now add useful URL links so that participants can find out more about the facilities available at each venue.

Your new Activities Dashboard

The Activities Dashboard provides you with a comprehensive overview of your activities and bookings. You can see all your activities as well as who has booked onto them, whether any cancellations have been made and if there are spaces available.

Unassigned and Interested Participants

Participants who are unassigned haven’t marked their attendance for your session. If you know that an unassigned participant is attending your session but they haven’t marked themselves as attending, you can manually do this for them. If you want, you can also choose to charge them for the session.

If your session is fully booked, people can join the list of interested participants by marking themselves as interested. If someone else then cancels their booking, the next person in the queue will be able to book – so you won’t be left with unfilled spaces in your session.

We have also made it so that participants cannot book two activities that are occurring at the same time, which should avoid any more accidental double bookings!

Some technical stuff…

Finally, a quick note on our servers! We’re using a new system – Azure hosting, which helps us to manage our traffic better, so you should see more consistent speed across our platform. Remember if you ever experience problems or outages, you can always check the status of our servers at: https://playwaze.statuspage.io/

Summer 2021 HAF Programme – Case Study

Playwaze has been collaborating with four Active Partnerships and one County Council to digitally support the management of their Holiday Activities & Food (HAF) programmes for Summer 2021. The Department for Education’s HAF programme is aimed at decreasing the holiday experience gap for children from disadvantaged families who are less likely to have access to organised out-of-school activities and are more likely to experience social isolation. 

Easter 2021 HAF Programme

At Easter, Playwaze collaborated with Herts Sports Partnership to support delivery of their Easter HAF Programme. Over 25 providers managed 55 multi-day holiday activities for which there were over 3,000 bookings and 18,000 unique searches via their activity finder. The learnings from this project were important for ensuring that the Summer HAF programme was a success. 


Using feedback from the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership and using our own analysis, we identified three main improvements to make to our platform’s solution:

  1. Bundles and add-ons
  • We added the capability for providers to offer ‘bundles’ which allow participants to book multiple activities together at a reduced price. We also introduced ‘add-ons’ which allowed providers to offer extra items along with bookings such as equipment needed for children to participate – for example, a tennis session might be booked with a tennis racket add-on.

  1. Improved confirmation of booking
  • We improved our confirmation emails to include all the information a parent would need to make it easier to organise and keep track of their bookings. This helped to avoid parents missing their booked sessions and improve levels of attendance for providers.

  1. Registers and ‘open & close bookings’
  • Registers were built to ensure providers had a better overview of their bookings and who was attending each of their sessions. We also added the functionality for providers to set specific dates and times for their activities to be available to book with an ‘open’ and ‘close’ date – meaning they could set cut-off times and have greater control over their bookings.

Summer 2021 HAF Programme

After the success of Herts Sports Partnership’s Easter programme, four more organisations opted for Playwaze as their management system for the Summer HAF programme: Active Cornwall, Northamptonshire Sport, Oxfordshire County Council, and Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP).

Our platform puts everything activity providers need to provide HAF activities in one place – a booking system, a payments solution (for non free school meal places), reporting for their activities and a method for processing free school meals vouchers

Playwaze also makes it easier for parents and carers to find activities for their children. We created custom branded activity finders for each organisation which listed all the activities in their area. Parents used these activities finders to see what was available near them. Each finder had filters so that parents could search for activities by age suitability and type of activity. They could also use the filters to find activities happening on specific dates and within a certain distance. The filters also allowed them to find activities that provided for children with disabilities.

Summer Success in Numbers

Across the five organisations involved, we engaged a total of 258 activity providers, making over 770 holiday activities available to be booked by parents of children eligible for free school meals. There were a total of 107,500 bookings and 400,000 searches on the activity finder and more than 52,000 individual children participated across the five county areas.

The Future of the Playwaze HAF Solution

The success of the HAF programme so far this year looks set to continue with the Winter 2021 HAF Programme just around the corner. Learning from the experience of the Easter and summer programmes we have determined 5 key ways in which we can enhance our technology to make Playwaze an even more effective solution for providing HAF activities:

  1. Improving the onboarding experience for providers.
  2. Making it easier for both parents and providers to see and cancel their bookings.
  3. Introducing the ability to block book a series of activities.
  4. Making the contact details of activity providers more easily accessible.
  5. Adding email notifications and alerts of upcoming bookings

Want to use Playwaze for your HAF Programme?

Whether you are a commissioned partner responsible for delivery of a HAF programme, or a national, regional, or local provider of holiday activities, Playwaze can provide you with a holiday activity search tool using our unique Finder builder technology. Activity Finders that are #PoweredByPlaywaze make it simple for your participants – and their parents – to find what they are looking for with easy-to-use search filters. They can be customised with your organisation’s branding and embedded into your existing website or we can provide fully hosted website can be provided, either way making the booking process straightforward.

Click here to find out more about using Playwaze for your HAF programme.

What’s New with Playwaze? – September

This month we’ve made some big improvements to our platform! We’ve revamped your community homepage, introduced favourites, added your diary and made Playwaze more intuitive to use.

Your New Community Homepage ⭐

We’ve updated your homepage to make Playwaze easier to use. You can now see everything that’s most important to you without having to navigate through different community pages.

Your Favourites ⭐

WYou can use our new feature to pin your favourite activitiescompetitionsmemberships and more to the top of your feed.

Your Diary 📅

You can now see all your upcoming activities and sessions in the diary on your homepage. Anything you’ve favourited will show up automatically in your diary and if you follow a team then it’s fixtures will show up here too.

Your Feed 📰

Your feed shows you everything that’s happening in your communities – news feed posts, results from your leagues and competitions as well as upcoming activities and notifications 

Playwaze x HAF Programme Summer 2021: The Numbers

The Holiday Activities & Food Programme for Summer 2021 is now complete!

It’s been an amazing success for the four active partnerships and one county council that used Playwaze as their digital partner for delivering the programme.

The infographic below shows the combined statistics of Active Cornwall, Herts Sports Partnership, Northamptonshire Sport, Oxfordshire County Council, and Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP).