Parents unhappy with local play facilities, research suggests

Parents in the UK are unhappy with local play facilities for children and think more funding should be allocated, according to research from the Association of Play Industries (API).

56 per cent of parents revealed that they were unhappy about the lack of high quality play facilities in their local area. Additionally, 23.4 per cent of respondents said their nearest playground is in a poor state and 22.9 per cent replied that their children rarely or never play there. Just over half surveyed (52.4 per cent) said they see no improvement in local play facilities, with 38.1 per cent worried that playgrounds in their local community may close down altogether.

As a result, 83.4 per cent of respondents believed that more funding should be allocated to public play facilities, and 81 per cent thought there should be more investment in parks and green spaces.

Commenting on the findings, API Chair Mark Hardy said: “We have long been concerned about the decline in public play provision, so wanted to hear first-hand the views of families using these much-needed local facilities. Their observations and concerns are a real wake-up call. 98.5 per cent think it’s important that their children are physically active but this research shows that many simply have nowhere safe to play. We’re particularly concerned that so many families (14.5 per cent) said their nearest playground is derelict, unusable or unsafe.

"The strength of feeling amongst parents that government should be making children’s play a priority is clear, particularly as we face a physical inactivity crisis that threatens to shorten our children’s lives. Children have a fundamental right to play, as enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and we believe the government is failing to honour its obligations.”