A Crisis In Childhood Is Happening Every Day, All Around Us

The Children’s Play Policy Forum has today issued a policy statement identifying a crisis in childhood and calling for more children’s play opportunities. The cancellation of public liability insurance for children’s playgrounds comes at a time when new research is encouraging less screen time and more outdoor play.

The Children’s Play Policy Forum is made up of play specialists from across the UK who are warning that modern life is squeezing play – especially outdoor play – to the margins of children’s lives limiting the natural growth and development that occurs when children play. The statement entitled “Play Builds Children” goes on to say that mental health of a generation is at risk. Obesity in children is at epidemic levels and increases in life expectancy have stalled.

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

“The need for such a statement has never been so urgent, the importance of play never so great, nor the rewards so significant. My hope is that,  the significance of this statement to the wellbeing and potential for our children will be realised and supported. It is vital to recognise that Play Builds Children.” Robin Sutcliffe – Chair of the Children’s Play Policy Forum

The Children’s Play Policy Forum warns that the cost to society of allowing these trends to continue is significant including the human cost of physical and mental ill-health, an increased demand on public services, and damage to the economy through lost productivity and skills gaps.

Jacqueline O’Loughlin CEO of PlayBoard NI said:

“The evidence is unequivocal, anthropological, neuroscientific, psychological and educational studies highlight the importance of play for optimal child development.  Play builds children, yet in direct contradiction to the evidence we continually fail our children.  As a society we need to wake up to the fact that a generation of children are now growing up in a society where play deprivation is their lived reality.  We all need to press for circumstances that protect play and allow children to reap the associated advantages”  Jacqueline O’Loughlin – CEO of PlayBoard NI

The recent announcements from Matt Hancock MP detailing the NHS preventative agenda is to be welcomed, but the CPPF insist that lack of play leaves children mentally and physically unprepared to cope with life. On the other hand, there are huge benefits to be gained when sufficient time and space is available for children to play every day. These benefits contribute to the prevention of the prime issues of health, mental health, obesity and school exclusion – key issues in need of urgent resolution. Play builds happy, healthy children.

The CPPF policy statement calls on Government, the devolved administrations and local authorities to work together and make sure that children and society are not fundamentally damaged by the lack of play in children’s everyday lives.

Download the policy statement at childrensplaypolicyforum.org.uk

Download Policy Statement

Note to Editors:

The Children’s Play Policy Forum operates as the collective voice for children’s play in the UK. The forum is made up of the specialist children’s play agencies from the UK’s Home Nations

A policy statement “Play Builds Children” has been jointly prepared and published in February 2019, it is available on the CPPF website www.childrensplaypolicyforum.org.uk along with a separate evidence document detailing sources and statistics.

More Information And Comment:

Play England
Nicola Butler
tel: 07802 722412
info@playengland.net

Play Scotland
Marguerite Hunter Blair
tel: 07795 954856
marguerite@playscotland.org

Play Wales
Mike Greenaway
tel: 029 2048 6050
mail@playwales.org.uk

Play Board NI
Jacqueline O’loughlin
tel: 028 90803380
Jacqueline.oloughlin@playboard.co.uk

Association of Play Industries
Mary Lubrano
tel: 07999 550452
mary@sportsandplay.com

Fields in Trust
Richard McKeever
tel: 02074272110
richard.mckeever@fieldsintrust.org