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Inclusion, Empowerment & Social Justice Company news South Africa

Manhattan Sweets introduces the Manhattan Fun Lab!

Today, the children of Pimville in Soweto are celebrating as Manhattan Sweets pilots the “Manhattan Fun Lab”, a play initiative that sets out to tackle play inequity and deliver quality play opportunities for South African children living in impoverished areas.
Manhattan Sweets introduces the Manhattan Fun Lab!

Play is a necessity for children. It allows them to build vital social and emotional skills and can support their physical development. It offers invaluable opportunities for learning and development, and a chance to experience delight and joy. Play allows children to make sense of the adult world around them; and is integral to building resilience.

Many children in South Africa face barriers to getting the playtime they need.  Play deprivation, the lack of opportunities for free, unstructured play, can negatively impact children's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Compounding this issue is play-space inequity. While some parks are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, others are not more than a barren piece of land, perpetuating an uneven level of access for children to play facilities and spaces in their neighbourhoods.  

According to psychiatrist and clinical researcher, Dr Stuart Brown, when children are deprived of play, the consequences can be catastrophic. His research has shown that there is a correlation between play deprivation during early child development which can lead to adults who lack empathy, poor impulse control, increased anxiety and general poor mental health amongst other things. The core objective of the Manhattan Fun Lab is to promote fun, freedom, socialisation, and creative problem-solving through this curated experience.

Manhattan Sweets introduces the Manhattan Fun Lab!

The first-ever International Day of Play took place on 11 June 2024. Adopted by a United Nations resolution passed in March this year, the now annual commemoration creates a unifying moment to elevate the importance of play. Fittingly, ‘The Manhattan Fun Lab’ will host 3200 children from the community from 19 June – 24 July 2024

“Poverty and fewer opportunities to play are endemic in our country,” says Lauren Muller, Manhattan Sweets' marketing executive of confectionery. “We were shocked at both the statistics of children simply not having access to play areas but also by the long-term effects the lack of play has on children growing up in this under-resourced area. It was an obvious and immediate call to action for us – we need to bring fun and joy to these kids.  The Manhattan Fun Lab is our proactive and creative response to this dire social issue.”

“We’ve created a series of play experiences for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. We’ve incorporated our iconic brands Super C, Candy Tops Eclairs and Champion into the activities – where children get to make edible slime, do science experiments, create masterpieces in the art lab, get their bodies moving with our Super C sports coach, and even get to do some responsible gaming, playing our Manhattan Fun World Roblox Game!” says Muller. “ As a proudly South African business, Premier FMCG recognises the importance of earning the right to operate in communities, and initiatives like this are important to us as a business. We also provide a meal for each child, every day.”

Playgrounds and play spaces are an iconic part of childhood where kids collect some of their best memories and experience the countless physical and mental health benefits of play.

“We are excited to collaborate with the community and bring this new pop-up play space to Soweto. We cannot wait to roll the Manhattan Fun Lab out across the whole country, for all kids to get the taste of the fun!”

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