Calls mount for playgrounds to re-open

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit & Healthy Childhood is calling for an immediate Government response to the API’s call to set out the phase in which a return to children’s outdoor play in playgrounds will be considered.

The Group has asked that the Government’s reply to this serious issue should be given to the widest possible audience; preferably at the daily press conference and followed by a Ministerial Statement in the House.

“With children in lockdown for weeks, the effects on their mental and physical health could be nothing short of catastrophic unless action is taken now,” says API Chair, Mark Hardy. “Children have been largely absent from the Government’s plans as we loosen lockdown and this cannot continue.”

Helen Clark, lead author of the APPG’s reports, says: “The API is absolutely correct to draw the Government’s attention to the fact that, once again, they have written play out of history and it was never more needed to allow children to heal from what has been a uniquely traumatic experience with potentially lasting damage to their health and wellbeing.”

The Association of Play Industries is urging its members to submit the following question on the Government’s website for inclusion in the daily press conference: Children’s needs are being overlooked and they are facing a mental and physical health catastrophe unless they are allowed out to play.When will the government set out when and how children can play in public playgrounds again?

“Outdoor environments present a low risk of infection and with appropriate safety measures playgrounds could and should be used to help children recover from lockdown,” says Mark. “The current loosening of lockdown confers no benefit to younger children who cannot go out alone, and for many children their local playground is their only chance to play outside.

"There needs to be an urgent reassessment from Government regarding their position on this and a balanced approach taken: children, parents and communities cannot be made to wait indefinitely for clarification on when children can once again play outdoors.

“The damage to children from lockdown could affect them for years to come and far outweigh the consequences of the virus itself, as evidence continues to emerge that children are not badly affected by the disease.”

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