Leeds children's charity to close after 30 years due to lack of funding

Youngsters enjoying the freedom of their street closure  in Roundhay in May 2015.
Youngsters enjoying the freedom of their street closure in Roundhay in May 2015.
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A CHILDREN'S charity which has worked to help make Leeds a child friendly city is to close after 30 years due to lack of funding.

Trustees and staff of Leeds Play Network today (Weds Jan 16) announced the charity, which was established in 1988, is to close its doors on March 31.

Leeds Play Network launched the 'Play Streets' project in 2014 in partnership with Leeds City Council.

Last year the project saw more than 80 streets across Leeds closed to traffic for up to three hours to allow children to meet up and play safely.

Streets were closed for one-off play sessions or on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.

A statement on the Leeds Play Network website reads: "Sadly, trustees and staff of the children’s charity Leeds Play Network are announcing its closure.

"After 30 years delivering a play service for children, parents and child care professionals in the Leeds area, the charity will finally close its doors on the 31st March 2019 and disappear from the important voluntary sector within Leeds.

"The organisation has fought a long and purposeful battle against the continued poor levels of funding for children’s play at both a local and national level.

" Slowly but inexorably raising funds to keep alive an essential service, which recognises the vital importance of play and playing in the lives of children has become an almost impossible task.

"Leeds City Council has been a great source of support, but their funding streams have become increasingly stretched as government finances for play have declined.

"Whilst Leeds Play Network has been able to access small grants from a range of charities and businesses, such funding sources have not been sufficient to sustain the core costs of delivering play projects on a regular basis."