Playground closures are a public health issue

The Association of Play Industries has stressed that the inactivity crisis facing children must be placed at the heart of politics in the upcoming General Election and beyond.

The association recently joined with 147 other organisations in a major social media event – #ChildrenAtTheHeart – launching its new election manifesto and signing a joint open letter to election leaders asking them to remember that it’s children who will be most affected by the outcome of the election.

The API has also recently joined forces with the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, an organisation comprising leading bodies concerned with children’s mental health.

Mark Hardy, chair of the API, said: “The massive decline in public playgrounds is a public health issue. Our Play Must Stay campaign highlights that children are not playing outside anymore. Unless these playgrounds are reinstated and a commitment made to protect community playgrounds, children will continue to stay indoors on their screens – alone and inactive – at great cost to their physical and mental health.

“It’s vital that we continue to keep the pressure on all political parties to prioritise outdoor play and playgrounds and working with like minded organisations is a key part of our strategy. The mass closure of playgrounds means that outdoor play is being denied to thousands of children.  In urban areas playgrounds are the only opportunity children get to play outdoors. There is a national crisis going in our communities as we continue to lose public play spaces at an alarming rate.We are asking for a pledge from the next government to invest in playgrounds before it is too late.”