Pressure growing for clarification for when playgrounds can re-open

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit & Healthy Childhood is calling for an immediate government response to our 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.

The Association of Play Industries is stressing that children’s needs are being overlooked and they are facing a mental and physical health catastrophe unless they are allowed out to play.  It is urging its members to join them in asking the government ‘when will the government set out when and how children can play in public playgrounds again?’.

Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries, said: “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. Children have been largely absent from the government’s plans as we loosen lockdown and this cannot continue.

“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. 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.  It makes little sense only to introduce measures that allow great freedom outdoors for adults, but which continue to keep children indoors.”