Levelling up access to outdoor play

Levelling up access to outdoor play
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As a member of the Association of Play Industries (API), we are big supporters of its campaign for more Government funding for community play areas.
Its latest research examined the level of free-to-access play provision across the UK.
The study found that while the vast majority of British children live in built-up urban areas, some of these areas are seriously deprived of community play facilities.
It said one in eight UK households are without a garden and rely on public play areas for outdoor activities and exercise.
It also wants access to playgrounds to improve for disabled children too.

Accessible playgrounds for all

The API’s Equal Play campaign calls for ringfenced central Government funding for play, to enable local authorities to provide every child with a safe, high-quality playground near their homes.
Similar concerns about access to play for all children have been raised this year by a number of other charities and campaign groups.
Scope, a disability equality charity, launched the Let’s Play Fair campaign after finding half of families with disabled children face accessibility problems at their local playground.
It also wants a playground fund to be launched by the Government with a focus on the creation of inclusive playgrounds where all children can play and form memories.
Feedback from families show they face a range of barriers to play including challenging and uneven surfaces, inaccessible pathways and tight spaces, and a lack of inclusive playground equipment.

Levelling Up Parks Fund

In addition to calls for more, improved, accessible play areas, green campaigners want action to strengthen local communities through the provision of parks and outdoor spaces.
Fields in Trust says green spaces now play a much more important role in our lives, particularly since the pandemic, and deserve to be prioritised and protected for the long term.
It would seem this message has been heard to a certain extent with the launch of the Levelling Up Parks Fund.
Under this programme, areas most deprived of green space have already been identified by the Government and invited to opt in to receive a share of £9 million.
As part of the Levelling Up agenda, to restore pride, improve living standards and spread opportunity throughout the country, the fund is aimed at improving the quality of green spaces and access to them.
Cash will be invested in improving and refurbishing existing green spaces or creating new parks and green spaces.
While this does not go as far as providing a ringfenced fund for play, the money can be used on infrastructure such as natural play spaces, artwork, signs, benches, sculpture, fencing, paths and gates as well as wildlife features such as bird and bat boxes, or even the likes of our Minibeast HQ.

Inclusive play equipment

Our timber play equipment range is a natural fit with parks and open spaces.
Designed to bring children of all abilities together to have fun, our products are ideal for enhancing existing green spaces.

And because we manufacture to order at our UK factory, we can create bespoke play equipment, or customise our standard ranges, to support the design of new parks and community gardens.
The fund encourages leaders to put the unique needs of their community at the heart of their Levelling Up Parks plan.
Examples include community growing plots, which could feature a range of raised beds and planters.
Our Compost Cottage is a great addition to these types of developments, while our Playground Furniture, such as our Engraved Bench, Button Stools or Picnic Tables helps to encourage children to visit and take an interest in the natural world.
Nature trails are also a good way to implement activities for all to enjoy.
These can be enhanced with our Playground Sculptures and Totems.
Our inclusive play equipment includes activity panels which encourage social interaction like Finger Mazes and Outdoor Musical Instruments.
And as our range is crafted from responsibly sourced timber to our high-quality standards, it meets the requirements for materials, maintenance, safety and lifespan as set out under the fund.

Local authorities taking on the challenge of creating or refurbishing a park can call our team to discuss how we can support proposals.
We work with clients across the UK to design, manufacture and install play areas and communal outdoor spaces that everyone can enjoy.