Play & Activity

December 2018

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Proludic Wicksteed RoSPA Winner of the 30th anniversary Springer competition. Page 12 Minister unveils centenary Blue Plaque. Page 13 New guide to keeping children safe and active. Page 14 New research shows that playgrounds continue to close at an alarming rate despite the government's claims that they are tackling childhood obesity and mental health problems. In April 2017, the Association of Play Industries Nowhere toPlay report fi rst uncovered the state of playground decline in England, revealing the closure of hundreds of playgrounds. U s i n g t h e F r e e d o m o f Information Act, the API has once again asked local authorities to disclose current and planned playground closures and found: • By 2020/21 there will have been a decrease in spend on play facilities of 44% since 2017/18 • In 2016/17 local authorities closed 63 playgrounds and in 2017/18 a further 70 playgrounds have been closed. To mark the UK's annual celebration of play – Playday 2018 – all four children's commissioners from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales stood together to support the importance of children's play as an essential aspect of childhood as thousands of The government has announced a new programme to develop local solutions to childhood obesity that can be shared across the country. The government is asking local authorities to apply to its Trailblazer programme, in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA). The 3-year programme forms part of the second chapter of the government's childhood obesity plan, launched in the summer, which included the aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030. One in 3 children leaves primary school overweight or obese. UK Children's Commissioners stand together for right to play Local authorities supported to innovate • Since 2014 local authorities have closed a total of 347 playgrounds across England. • There will be a decrease in spend on playgrounds of over £13m each year on average across England. • Local authorities estimate a decrease in their spending on playgrounds of £25m by 2021. API Chair, Mark Hardy, says: "Something we all took for granted – safe, local and free spaces in which to play – is disappearing. "Our latest research shows a very worrying picture indeed and, unless action is taken now, it seems we are in danger of losing playgrounds. Let's not forget that when a playground is neglected and closed it is often lost forever. "The impact on the NHS of childhood obesity, poor fi tness and mental health problems is children across the four nations attend organised Playday events. Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland, Sally Holland, Children's Commissioner for Wales and Anne Longfi eld OBE Children's Commissioner for England are urging everyone to play their part in ensuring the creation of the best possible opportunities for all children and young people to embrace their right to play. The four commissioners are calling for: • All adults to consider how they can help children and young people across the UK have time, space, permission and support to play, both in their family life and in their community. All councils will be invited to apply to the programme and set out their proposals. Up to 12 local authorities will be supported to develop practical plans, and in spring next year 5 authorities will be selected. Trailblazer local authorities will be on the programme for 3 years. During that time they will be given expert advice to help realise their plans, as well as £100,000 per year in funding to support this. Successful approaches to reducing childhood obesity will be considered for shaping national policy. LGA sizeable. One of the root causes is that children are not playing outside as freely as they once did and this is partly because of the lack of local, high-quality and safe areas available for them to play in and socialise. "A relatively small investment by government could have huge • Organisations to think about whether they are doing all they can to empower and involve children and young people to have a say in ideas and decisions that affect their rights – including their right to play. • Governments and statutory agencies to actively promote and protect children's right to play through the provision of adequate resources. T h e f o u r n a t i o n a l U K p l a y o r g a n i s a t i o n s , P l a y Wales, PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play England and Play Scotland are calling o n e v e r y o n e – p a r e n t s , grandparents, carers, childcare providers and support staff across the UK to help celebrate and promote the importance of play for all children. Playday Obesity warning as playground closures go into freefall social and health benefits for years to come. "Outdoor play is essential to children's development. They need playgrounds to develop vital social skills and these community spaces have a central role in children's physical and mental health. "In the midst of an obesity e p i d e m i c a n d a m e n t a l health crisis we are calling on the government to make a significant and sustained investment in our playgrounds before it is too late." API L a n d s c a p e & A m e n i t y w w w. l a n d s c a p e a n d a m e n i t y. c o m December 2018 Latest news & products

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