Councils urged to create more inclusive and accessible play spaces

Annette Rawstrone
Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Children's charities and play industry bodies are calling on UK councils to create more facilities for children with disabilities who they claim are currently excluded from many play spaces.

The statement argues that 'society' has not created enough play spaces that are accessible for disabled children, PHOTO Adobe Stock
The statement argues that 'society' has not created enough play spaces that are accessible for disabled children, PHOTO Adobe Stock

According to the Children's Play Policy Forum and UK Play Safety Forum, 'society' has failed to produce enough accessible and inclusive places for children to play within a reasonable distance of their homes. 

The need to uphold every child’s right and need to play is addressed in a joint statement from the charity and industry body.

It is hoped that the ‘Including Disabled Children in Play Provision’ statement will increase understanding around the barriers that keep many disabled children and their families excluded from local play spaces. Key actions from the statement include:

  • A positive and solution-focused attitude is critical to creating inclusive play space design, based on understanding and prioritising the needs of disabled children and making adaptations to include them.
  • Children and their families want play spaces which include the range of features and facilities they need.
  • Play spaces should offer a balance of high to low challenge opportunities and a good mix of play features.
  • All children deserve to be able to enjoy play spaces that work well for them and their families within a reasonable distance of their home.
  • All play spaces should be developed through community participation, co-design, and co-production.

The statement also calls for consistent use of the terms accessible and inclusive play.

Play England’s chair of trustees Anita Grant said that all children have a right to high quality play experiences that encompass ‘freedom, agency, risk and challenge’.

She added, ‘I hope this statement will open and support the discussion on real inclusion and increased accessibility for all children in all parks and open spaces.’

'For decades disabled children have been left poorly served'.

Tim Gill, chair, UK Play Safety Forum said, ‘Just like any child, all disabled children need and want to play. But for decades, they have been left poorly served.

‘This statement makes a powerful case for change, while acknowledging the challenges. Perhaps most importantly, it sets out a clear vision for new and improved play spaces that will engage children of all abilities.’

  • The statement is available here 

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