Open playgrounds will lessen the impact of lockdown on children

The Association of Play Industries (API) is delighted to hear that playgrounds will continue to remain open during the next lockdown in England.

API Chair Mark Hardy said the play sector has been united in working to ensure that children do not suffer in the way they did during the first lockdown.

“The closure of playgrounds hits the most disadvantaged children the hardest,” he said. “We are delighted that our collective voice has been heard and all children will still be able to access their community playgrounds.

“Playgrounds are one of the safest places for children to play freely outdoors. The risks to children of not playing are far greater than the risks posed by Covid. Transmission from children to adults is proven to be small and the risk posed by children contracting the virus from surfaces is widely thought to be negligible.

“Without access to public playgrounds during lockdown, millions of children would effectively be placed under house arrest, particularly those from the 1 in 8 UK households with no outdoor space. The effects of this on their mental and physical health would be devastating, exacerbating an already alarming picture of childhood obesity, growing mental health problems and record levels of sleep disorders.

“Public playgrounds are powerful tools in helping to alleviate the effects of lockdown. We are glad that, given the evidence, common sense has won through as we enter this next set of restrictions.”

Anita Grant, Chair of Play England, paid tribute to the campaign highlighting the importance of play.

She said “good sense has prevailed” and children will be allowed, encouraged and supported to play throughout lockdown.

“Play is a fundamental right and is the way that children will get through this difficult time,” she added. “We will continue to work with partners, lobby those in power and gather the evidence to support play being prioritised for the next generation as they face a strange and challenging future.”

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