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  1. ITV Report

Playground closures impacting negatively on children's health say researchers

Photo: ITV West Country

The "alarming rate" at which playgrounds in the South West continue to close could have a negative impact on children's mental and physical health, according to researchers.

The Association of Play Industries (API) say more than 40 playgrounds in the South West will close between 2018 and 2021.

The association say their closure will only add to the problem of childhood obesity, and create more mental health issues among young people.

A resource we all took for granted - safe, local and free space in which our children can play - is disappearing.

Our latest research shows a very worrying picture indeed and, unless action is taken now, it seems we are in danger of losing playgrounds permanently.

Let's not forget that when a playground is neglected and closed it is often lost forever.

– Mark Hardy, API chair
44%
estimated decrease in spend on play facilities by 2021.
Credit: ITV West Country

API say in a "screen-obsessed and often time poor society", something needs to be done about the lack of "local, high-quality and safe areas" for children.

Across England, their research found local authorities have closed a total of 347 playgrounds since 2014.

A number of advantages of children being able to play outside and in a social environment have been listed as including

  • to develop social skills
  • to develop physically
  • to develop mentally
£25m
estimated decrease in spending by local authorities on playgrounds by 2021.

In the midst of an obesity epidemic and a mental health crisis we are calling on the Government to make a significant and sustained investment in our playgrounds before it is too late."

– Mark Hardy, API chair
  • A full copy of their research can be found here.