4 asks for play

National Childen's Body calls for all political parties to invest in cost-effective support for children's play

 The UK’s Children’s Play Policy Forum is calling for all UK political parties to invest in children’s play because of the proven benefits to children, families and communities. 

’Four asks for play’ calls on the UK Government to: 
  • 1. Recognise the need for play before school, during play/break times and after school hours
  • 2. Extend the existing Department of Health-funded programme supporting regular sessional road closures in residential streets in England to every major city in the UK
  • 3. Invest in a programme focusing on disadvantaged communities to encourage appropriate play in public space, while reducing neighbourhood conflict and the resulting pressure on police time
  • 4. Provide support for staffed play provision to test innovative community-based health and well-being initiatives.
Investing in the ‘Four asks for play’ will result in improvements in children’s health and wellbeing, the Children’s Play Policy Forum says, and hence a reduction in the pressures on the National Health Service and the public purse. 
Studies show that the long-term health benefits of playing include boosting physical activity levels which helps to tackle child obesity, and supporting children to become more resilient. Play initiatives also benefit the wider community by encouraging neighbourliness and improved community cohesion.* 
Robin Sutcliffe, Chair of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said: 
‘We know that playing provides immediate and long-term benefits to children, young people and the wider community. We all have a responsibility to ensure children have opportunities to play in their communities. We are calling on all political parties to provide for play initiatives across the UK – the level of investment needed would be relatively modest yet extremely cost-effective.’
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Notes for editors 
For more information or if you have any media queries please contact:
Play England/UK – Carmen de Silva: csilva@playengland.net / 07775 830740
Play Wales – Angharad Wyn Jones: info@playwales.org.uk / 029 2048 6050
PlayBoard Northern Ireland – Lisa O’Connor: Lisa.oconnor@playboard.co.uk / 028 90803380
Play Scotland – Sharon McCluskie: SharonMcCluskie@playscotland.org / 131 440 9070
The ‘Four asks – for play, for health, for children, for everyone’ is also available at: www.playwales.org.uk/eng/playpolicyforum
About the Children’s Play Policy Forum
The Children’s Play Policy Forum promotes the importance of children’s play and argues for high-quality, inclusive play provision. It works with devolved, national and local government; and the voluntary, public and private sectors throughout the United Kingdom.
The Forum is a cross-sector grouping of leading organisations with an interest in children’s play. Members include: Play England, PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland, Play Wales, Fields in Trust, Association of Play Industries, Kids, London Play, SkillsActive and Black Voices Network.
Supporting evidence/research 
* The Play Return: A review of the wider impact of play initiatives shows how investing in play improves the health, wellbeing, social and educational development of children; and also supports families and communities The Children’s Play Policy Forum commissioned independent researcher and former government adviser Tim Gill to carry out the work in 2014. The review is available at: www.playwales.org.uk/eng/playpolicyforum 
For more information about the Department of Health funded street play project visit: