Headlines: August 5th, 2009

A third of parents say they can no longer afford to take their children out to play. The survey was conducted by Play England for today’s Playday annual celebration of children’s right to play and the charity is calling on the Government and local authorities to ensure funding for free play areas and parks is maintained.

The survey shows that more than eight out of ten parents are worried that a lack of play leads to children being unhappy and almost three quarters believe it leads to bad behaviour. The ICM survey of a thousand adults and children also found more than three quarters of children said a lack of places to play left them bored and more than two thirds said it meant they missed their friends.

Asked about what factors might help children play more, 73 per cent of parents identified a need for more places where they could go on their own. Adrian Voce, director of Play England, said: “This makes free local play areas more important than ever. That is why we are calling on all parties and local authorities to ensure the current investment and other measures to create more child-friendly public space are sustained.”

Mr. Voce said children, as well as parents had said they were happiest and most co-operative when they got enough time to play. He added: “Although they understand that this doesn’t have to mean costly trips or toys, the recession is definitely having an impact on their choices.” Play England, which is part of the National Children’s Bureau, has organised 800 free events around the country today.