by Cath Prisk
Today we can announce that Play England, backed by the Free Time Consortium, is re-launching the Love Outdoor Play Campaign, which is calling on everyone everywhere to find ways to make sure more children can play outside more often.
The Free Time Consortium brings together 12 local play organisations and 5 specialist organisations – all listed below. Together we already have about £3million from a wide range of sources – trusts, corporate sponsorship, earned income, local grants and contracts. This will fund activities such as the usual after school clubs, holiday play schemes and adventure playgrounds, but also include prison visiting services, street play projects and bespoke services for disadvantaged and disabled children. Some of our work is building great places to play, and some is promoting more sensible approaches to risk-benefit assessments and workforce skills. Some of the partners such as Milton Keynes Play Association are 40 years old and some, like Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust, have only been set up a year or so. Whatever our histories, we are united in our commitment to work together to increase children and young people’s opportunities for play and recreation.
The Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund has invested in the consortium to help us to increase volunteering in support of children’s play – this means that, along with this campaign, we will be generating 20,000 volunteering opportunities over the next couple of years with something for everyone to get involved in. We’ll also be sharing the lessons we are learning so other communities can replicate the projects, and will be producing the guidance most needed to support great outdoor play whether that’s in an after school club or just out on your street. So whatever your skills, whatever time you have available, whatever your age and whatever you would find most fun, there will be plenty of ways to get involved.
Before I go on I first need to say a huge thanks to the Geography Collective for handing us such a magnificent campaign to build on, and to all the existing supporters who have built the profile of this critical issue so far – we hope we can count on your continued support and ideas, and that you’ll tell all your friends and colleagues, your local businesses and MPs about the re-launch and about our mission to build a visible community to support exploration, adventure and play.
So – for the new readers – why Love Outdoor Play I hear you asking? Well let me ask you – what would a world where no one was allowed to play outside be like? What would be the impact on health? Or how we feel about our neighbours and where we live? Would we have the friendships that mean so much to us? How happy would our childhoods be?
Both the Children’s Society Good Childhood Review published last week and the Unicef research on children’s happiness identify increasing opportunities to play outside as one of the simple things we can do to improve the quality of life for children and young people across England.
Over the next few weeks on this Love Outdoor Play blog (and through Twitter, facebook and newsletters) we’ll be sharing with you the stories about the local projects and the people that are volunteering – or giving in other ways – to increase the opportunities for children to play in their area. We’ll also be inviting guest bloggers to share what they love about outdoor play – do let us know if you’d like to be one of them.
So what can you do right now?
- You could post below how you show that you Love Outdoor Play, or how you’d like to be able to
- You could click over to the Take Action page to see some of the suggestions there
- You could take a look at the fantastic work being done by the partners in the Free Time Consortium – feel free to get in touch directly to register your interest in volunteering or helping in any other way
- Or you could tweet, facebook or email this page and spread the word about the campaign with others.
By supporting Love Outdoor Play, together we can make sure more children can play out more often in all of our communities, whatever it takes.
Cath Prisk, Director – Play England
The Free Time Consortium brings together:
- Birmingham PlayCare Network
- Children’s Links (Lincolnshire)
- Hackney Play Association
- Hillingdon Play Association
- KIDS (the disabled children’s charity)
- Lambeth Play Association
- London Play
- Manchester Young Lives
- Milton Keynes Play Association
- Participation Works (hosted by the National Children’s Bureau)
- Play England (hosted by the National Children’s Bureau)
- Play Torbay
- Playwork Partnerships (University of Gloucestershire)
- Plymouth Play Association
- Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust (North Tyneside)
- SkillsActive (the Sector Skills Council)
- Wansdyke Play Association (Bath & North East Somerset)