Four asks for play

Four asks for playThe 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:

  1. Recognise the need for play before school, during play/break times and after school hours
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.

Studies 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.

Robin Sutcliffe, Chair of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said:

‘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.’

The Play Return

play return coverCommissioned by the UK’s Children’s Play Policy Forum, The Play Return: A review of the wider impact of play initiatives report evidences the importance of play to the health, wellbeing, social and educational development of children; and the importance of play in supporting children to develop essential skills and knowledge as they mature.

This research highlights for the first time the measurable difference that play makes, not just to children but also to families and communities.

Author of the report, Tim Gill said:

‘At the core of the report is the message that not only does outdoor play impact significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also in many cases can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities’.

Welcoming the report, Robin Sutcliffe, Chairman of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said:

‘This report provides a valuable insight into the fundamental importance of play to the lives of children, not only in terms of their development and wellbeing but also their enjoyment of childhood. At a government policy level it is our belief that this report provides compelling evidence of the impact play can have across a range of policy areas including health and education’.