Playgrounds across Yorkshire are closing at an alarming rate, in spite of the Government’s claims it is tackling child obesity and mental health problems.
In April 2017, the Association of Play Industries Nowhere to Play report first uncovered the state of playground decline in England, revealing the closure of hundreds of playgrounds.
Further research by the API reveals more worrying data showing that by 2020/21 there will have been a 44 per cent decrease in spend on play facilities from 2017/18.
In 2016/17 local authorities closed 63 playgrounds. Inn 2017/18 a further 70 playgrounds have closed, and since 2014 local authorities have closed 347 playgrounds in England.
There will be a decrease in spend on playgrounds of over £13m each year on average, nationally, as local authorities estimate spending on playgrounds will plummet by £25 million, by 2021.
API chair, Mark Hardy, said: “A resource we took for granted, safe, local and free space in which children can play, is disappearing. Our latest research shows a very worrying picture indeed and, unless action is taken now, we are in danger of losing playgrounds permanently.
“The impact on the NHS of childhood obesity, poor fitness and mental health problems is sizeable. One of the root causes is children are not playing outside as freely as they once did, partly because of a lack of local, high-quality and safe areas for them to play in. A relatively small investment by government could have huge social and health benefits for years to come.”