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New contactless sign-in system earns ‘Northern Ireland’s most innovative’ title for rural playgroup

Parents at Aughnacloy Playgroup are provided with a key tag which a member of the playgroup reads with a barcode scanner

Aughnacloy Play Group

A small rural playgroup has won recognition for its innovation in developing a new non-contact sign-in system in today’s current Covid challenge-filled times.

Aughnacloy Playgroup has been recognised as a Bronze level innovator by Innovate NI, a Department for the Economy programme helping local businesses.

Their new system was developed using an Invest NI Innovation Voucher to work with South West College’s Innotech Centre.

The new sign-in system means the parents and carers of children attending are able to sign their child in without the potential contact contamination involved in signing a register or exceeding social distancing measures.

This will be particularly important with the re-opening of settings post-‘circuit–breaker’.

The system itself also allows the team to run reports that cover attendance, allergy information, payments made and much more, therefore streamlining workload and providing time to ensure increased cleaning procedures are implemented.

The idea for the system was created by Committee member Catherine Muldoon and was designed and implemented by the team at the Innotech Centre via the Invest NI Innovation Voucher programme.

Parents are provided with a key tag which a member of the playgroup reads with a barcode scanner.

This system is now available for other playgroups and community groups to purchase and use in their settings. Interested parties are welcomed to contact the Playgroup directly.

Catherine Muldoon, Committee member said, “We are so proud of the developments we have undertaken at Aughnacloy Playgroup. The health and safety of our children, team and community is always at the forefront of our minds, but especially so in today’s climate.

“We are so pleased to have received the Bronze award from InnovateNI and the Department for the Economy recognition for the work we have done.”

Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research & Development, Invest NI said: “Our Innovation Vouchers were designed to help small businesses tap into the expert knowledge within colleges and universities to either help develop a new product or idea, or refine an existing one.
“Aughnacloy Playgroup is a great example of an innovative company. By focussing on the needs of their customers and staff, they were able to enhance their business with a safer non-contact sign-in system.

“In today’s climate, it’s never been more important for businesses, across all sectors, to seek out opportunities to develop new ideas, systems, processes or products to help sustain and grow their business.

“Aughnacloy Playgrouphas been recognised as a Bronze level innovator by demonstrating their commitment to innovation and improvement within their sector I congratulate them on their success and on the development of their new system.”

Aughnacloy Playgroup have also been enhancing their outdoor space to ensure the children have all weather access to outdoor learning, whilst supporting and developing their physical and mental health.

With support from The New Needs Fund/the Community Foundation, they have built a brand new covered outdoor classroom.

Playgroup Leader Anita Stansfield added: “The development of our outside area has been a total success with this year’s children.

“It not only allows them to have access to outside play in all weathers, but it also allows us to encourage safe social distancing whilst not impeding the children’s play.”

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