News

Supporting children to play outdoors

Published: 19 Mar 2021 10:30

£500,000 to expand free activities.

Children in some of the country’s most deprived areas are to benefit from free organised outdoor play activities aimed at improving their health and wellbeing.

A total of £500,000 is being provided to expand the Outdoor Community Play Fund in 2021-22, which is administered by Inspiring Scotland.

In 2020-21 the fund distributed £380,000 to 23 play charities reaching more than 5,000 children in Scotland’s most deprived communities.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:

“Protecting children’s right to play has been one of the key priorities in our decision making to suppress transmission of the virus. We understand the value of outdoor play for children's wellbeing and resilience, as well as their physical and mental health.

“Children and families from more deprived areas can often find it more difficult to access organised outdoor activities, so I’m pleased that this additional funding will help even more children play outside in a safe and fun way.”

Karen Shepherd, Play Development Officer of Aberdeen Play Forum, who were recipients of funding in 2020/21, said:

“A lot of parents told us that they and their children had been very isolated and had almost forgotten how to play and socialise with others. Many families do not have access to a garden or safe play space so had been deprived.

“The sessions we were able to put on were welcomed as they gave safe and structured opportunities for those involved, as well as giving parents ideas to engage positively with play at home.”

Background

The financial support has been announced as Play Scotland has published an updated progress report on Scotland’s National Play Strategy. The report highlights the growing body of evidence on the adverse impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the associated restrictions on children and young people’s wellbeing, resulting from changes to their daily lives including reduced opportunities for play and social interaction with their peers.

The report makes recommendations across eight broad areas:

• refresh the Play Strategy and ensure national and local leadership support a child’s right to play
• renew and develop the national and local commitment to outdoor play
• listen to children and young people and act on what they say
• ensure inclusion of all children and young people
• ensure cross sectoral and inter professional approaches to play are in place
• sustain and support play provision through adequate funding
• maintain a focus on playful learning and play in schools
• strengthen the play sector nationally and locally

Resources are also available on the Parent Club website to support outdoor play for all families.