PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                   
Date: 04 October 2016

Parks provide a public service as hubs for physical activity for people of all ages, and should be funded by the public purse, the Association of Play industries (API), has told government.

In its submission to the Communities and Local Government Committee Parks Inquiry, the API raises its mounting concerns about the link between local authority budget cuts and dwindling opportunities for children to play and be physically active.

API Chair Mark Hardy says: “Children’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles call for policy action, and parks have a pivotal role to play. Play delivers wide-ranging developmental benefits, and evidence shows that children are more physically active if they have access to high quality outdoor play facilities. Investment in public play facilities and in the parks that host them should be a government priority, particularly for deprived communities, where need is greatest and obesity rates most prevalent”

As part of the government’s new national obesity strategy, and in addition to the soft drinks tax, the API calls for further levies on food and drink companies producing high sugar, salt and saturated fat products, particularly those targeted at children, to subsidise local facilities that address physical inactivity. 

Mark Hardy says: “In our urbanised developed world, many natural play areas have been eliminated. Many children have nowhere safe at home to play outdoors, so playgrounds - often located in public parks - form one of the few practical spaces where they can play. Children’s fundamental right to play is preserved in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which was ratified by the UK government in 1991. That right must be protected.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s State of UK Public Parks 2016 report showed that 54% of households with children under five visit their local park at least once a week. Research by the API last year found that nearly four in ten (38%) parents and families were worried that playgrounds in their local community would close. 81% called for investment in parks and green spaces for public recreation, and 98.5% said it is important that their children are physically active. 95% of park managers surveyed for the HLF parks report said they expect revenue cuts to continue in the next three years.

The API campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition of the value of play, both in its own right and as a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood, Children’s Play Policy Forum and Federation of Sports and Play Associations.

For further information about the Association of Play Industries, contact: Deborah Holt, API Association Manager, tel: 024 7641 4999 or email

View the full API’s submission to the CLG Committee Parks Inquiry in full.


API Media Contact

Julie Parmenter, Elephant Creative
T: 01981 251820 / 07775 715936

Notes to editors
The Association of Play Industries (API) is the lead trade body within the play sector and campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition of the, representing the interests of the manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. Founded in 1984 the API currently has 65 members.

Follow us on Twitter: @apiplay

The API operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing 14 Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries.