Leading UK charities and industry bodies have called on councils to create accessible and inclusive children’s play spaces. The joint statement addresses the need to uphold every child’s right and need to play.
The joint statement from the Children’s Play Policy Forum and UK Play Safety Forum, states that society has failed in providing enough accessible and inclusive places for children to play within a reasonable distance of their homes. It makes clear that:
- A positive, solution-focused attitude is essential to include disabled children
- It is possible to make adaptations to increase accessibility and remove barriers to participation by engaging with and prioritising the needs of disabled children and their families
- There is an urgent need to change public attitudes
- More welcoming spaces must be created which maximise the range of play opportunities offered by the equipment and the environment
The statement also calls for consistent use of the terms accessible and inclusive play.
Tim Gill, Chair of the UK Play Safety Forum said,
“Just like any child, all disabled children need and want to play. But for decades, they have been left poorly served. This statement makes a powerful case for change, while acknowledging the challenges. Perhaps most importantly, it sets out a clear vision for new and improved play spaces that will engage children of all abilities.”
The UK Play Safety Forum and Children’s Play Policy Forum agree that all playgrounds and spaces should meet the accessible definition, to meet the needs of as many children, of as many varying abilities, as possible. The strategic provision of truly inclusive spaces at well-chosen destination sites is essential to meet the needs of all children.
Mark Hardy Chairman Association of Play Industries (API) said, “We are delighted to have supported and contributed to this latest guidance to give greater clarity on the different priorities for ‘accessible’ and ‘inclusive’ play spaces.”
Key take away actions for local councils:
- A positive and solution-focused attitude is critical to creating inclusive play space design, based on understanding and prioritising the needs of disabled children and making adaptations to include them
- Children and their families want play spaces which include the range of features and facilities they need
- Play spaces should offer a balance of high to low challenge opportunities and a good mix of play features
- All children deserve to be able to enjoy play spaces that work well for them and their families within a reasonable distance of their home
- All play spaces should be developed through community participation, co-design, and co-production