Archive | March, 2015

Playwork field calls on parties to adopt policy measures for play

25 Mar

I am sure that, in a more sympathetic world, they are very much the asks that we all would be making and they compliment the 4 asks. The sooner the new vehicle for Playwork is established, the better!

Policy for Play

Proposals from the National Playwork Conference in Eastbourne show that the playwork sector has lost none of its ambition, or its fight

A special session at the National Playwork Conference in Eastbourne earlier this month has produced a clear and ambitious play policy agenda ahead of the General Election. Here is the text of a joint statement from the conference convenors and the steering group for a new vehicle for playwork:

“A General Comment from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013[1]said that governments have an obligation under international law to ‘recognise, protect and fulfil’ children’s right to play, through appropriate legislation, planning and budgeting.

A recent research review of the impact of children’s play initiatives found that there is good evidence that they ‘lead to improved health outcomes for children, and are also linked to a range of other developmental benefits’ and…

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Four Asks For Play

20 Mar

Children’s Play Policy Forum suggests four asks for play for consideration by Politicians in the run up to the election and for the new administration.

Download ‘Four asks for play’

The UK’s Children’s Play Policy Forum is calling for all UK political parties to invest in children’s play because of the proven benefits to children, families and communities.

’Four asks for play’ calls on the UK Government to:

  • Recognise the need for play before school, during play/break times and after school hours
  1. Extend the existing Department of Health-funded programme supporting regular sessional road closures in residential streets in England to every major city in the UK
  2. Invest in a programme focusing on disadvantaged communities to encourage appropriate play in public space, while reducing neighbourhood conflict and the resulting pressure on police time
  3. Provide support for staffed play provision to test innovative community-based health and well-being initiatives.

Investing in the ‘Four asks for play’ will result in improvements in children’s health and wellbeing, the Children’s Play Policy Forum says, and hence a reduction in the pressures on the National Health Service and the public purse.

The evidence produced by Tim Gill in the  The Play Return show that the long-term health benefits of playing include boosting physical activity levels which helps to tackle child obesity, and supporting children to become more resilient. Play initiatives also benefit the wider community by encouraging neighbourliness and improved community cohesion.

I believe that we know that playing provides immediate and long-term benefits to children, young people and the wider community. We all have a responsibility to ensure children have opportunities to play in their communities. We are calling on all political parties to provide for play initiatives across the UK – the level of investment needed would be relatively modest yet extremely cost-effective.

I would be grateful if everyone involved in canvassing or responding to political canvassers asks candidates these questions.



Playground surfacing and ASTM: good news, but concerns remain

9 Mar

I completely endorse Tim’s views and would urge any of you who do not follow his blog and happen to see this one to make your support known!

Rethinking Childhood

Yesterday ASTM put on hold its proposal to tighten up playground surfacing standards, according to reports from committee members. ASTM’s original proposal has prompted widespread criticism: most recently from campaigning journalist Lenore ‘Free Range Kids’ Skenazy and leading American playground design commentator Paige ‘Playscapes’ Johnson. So yesterday’s decision – to suspend publication and refer the issue back to the relevant committee – is good news.

However, it is not clear what happens now. The next meeting of the surfacing committee is in May. But some members have told me that the chairman, George Sushinsky, is considering re-balloting members to push it through before then – perhaps before the end of March.

Playground surfacing with question mark

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