Cuts to play provision 'cost more in the long run'

Providing good play opportunities for children is an effective use of public money and cutting investment will result in more long-term financial costs to society, according to research today.

A study by Matrix Evidence, commissioned by Play England, into better academic performance and improved health, found that for every £1 invested in adventure playgrounds society gets £1.32 back in social benefits. 

The overall estimated value of the benefits derived from just one adventure playground is £2.8 million.

There are currently 180 adventure playgrounds in the UK but many are at risk from coalition spending cuts, including 30 built in the past two years under last government’s play strategy.

The report shows that children who attend an adventure playground increase their likelihood of achieving five GCSE A*-C by an estimated 2.61 per cent.

Furthermore, children with access to an adventure playground increase their levels of moderate physical activity which in the long-term increases their likelihood of being physically active in adulthood by an estimated 1.64 per cent.

Play England director Adrian Voce said: "In June, the deputy prime minister said that a ministerial taskforce was looking at children’s play ‘to find new solutions’ as part of ‘protecting our children's future, and rediscovering childhood’.

"It is ironic that yesterday’s announcement of new and protected capital programmes included a £230m programme to provide broadband internet access to many areas, while the only government action on play has been to suspend the Playbuilder programme, which would have created 3500 much needed new playgrounds across the country.

"Protecting our children’s future needs more than rhetoric. It is time the Playbuilder programme was reinstated and for the spending review to address one of children’s fundamental needs – opportunities to play outside within safe, welcoming communities."

For a copy of the report click here.

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