Parents report rundown playgrounds

Laura Marcus
Thursday, December 3, 2015

Unsafe and derelict playgrounds are on the rise, according to a new survey of parents.

Nearly a quarter of parents say their local playground is in a poor state, and 14.5 per cent say it is derelict, unusable or unsafe.

Conducted by the Association of Play Industries (API), the survey gathered responses from 241 parents, with more than half saying that they are unhappy about the lack of high quality play in their area.

The results form part of a national #nowhere2play campaign.

Campaigners are calling on the Government to put more funding into playgrounds and create a national strategy on play to tackle inactivity, ahead of the Government’s obesity strategy due to be published in January.

The API campaign is asking parents and carers to post pictures of inadequate play facilities on social media with the #nowhere2play hashtag.

API chair Mark Hardy said, ‘We have long been concerned about the decline in public play provision, so wanted to hear first-hand the views of families using these much-needed local facilities. Their observations and concerns are a real wake-up call.

‘We’re particularly concerned that so many families (14.5 per cent) said their nearest playground is derelict, unusable or unsafe.’

‘Not every family has access to a garden, park or safe outdoor space to play. If we are serious about tackling the root causes of what are becoming catastrophic physical inactivity and child obesity epidemics, then we need to make available well-designed, free-to-access public play facilities.

'With the launch of the national obesity strategy in the new year, we believe it;s time for the Government to move play up the political agenda and adopt a national play strategy.'

A Freedom of Information investigation by Nursery World’s sister publication, Children and Young People Now in 2013 found that 31 per cent of local authorities closed playgrounds between 2010 and 2013 and that spending on play fell by 38.8 per cent during the same period (£67.9m in 2010/11 compared to £41.5m in 2013/14).

  • To learn more about the campaign follow @apiplay

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