Mumsnet, the website which campaigns on issues affecting parents, is today launching #Nowhere2Play as one of its Guest Campaigns.
Chair of the Association of Play Industries (API), Mark Hardy, says: “We’re delighted that Mumsnet, an organisation with massive reach and influence, is supporting Nowhere to Play.
“It’s an issue which touches so many families. Across England, communities are being affected by the closure of local playgrounds. Without this campaign, they might have thought these closures were isolated when, in fact, play spaces are disappearing on a large scale.
“Our research revealed that between 2014/15 and 2015/16 local authorities across England closed 214 children’s playgrounds, with plans to close a further 234 – that’s 448 places in which children can play that have disappeared in England alone.
“We are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic and study after study has shown that the provision of play spaces is essential to keep children active. Lack of physical activity is a root cause of childhood obesity, so the alarming decline in play provision in England is an issue that none of us can afford to ignore any longer.”
Mark goes on to highlight the inequality of children’s access to play spaces. “Many children don’t have gardens in which to play and indeed, it’s the most deprived communities that are hit hardest by these cuts. We also know that it is in precisely these areas that childhood obesity is most prevalent.”
There are implications too for children’s mental well-being. ‘One-fifth of children experience mental health difficulties and without access to play children can’t develop the emotional, social and cognitive skills necessary for healthy development. More evidence emerges all the time about the positive association between physical activity, play and mental health.
“We hope that #Nowhere2Play will push play back up the political agenda. We want a clear and unequivocal show of support from government to reinvest in playgrounds to halt their decline and secure their future for generations to come.
‘We are now asking for parents, families and communities to tell us about their local playground closures, so we can demonstrate the often profound effect these closures can have. If your playground has closed or has been earmarked for closure by your local authority, then please do get in touch with us.”
API Media Contact: Deborah Holt, Association Manager, 024 7641 4999 [email protected]
Notes to editors:
The Association of Play Industries (API) www.api-play.org 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 #Nowhere2Play
The API operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing 13 Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries. www.sportsandplay.com