London Marathon 2021

July 11th, 2020 by

If you’d like to run for Play England in the Virgin Money 2021 London Marathon we’d love to hear from you! 

The London Marathon is a hugely popular event, and demand for places is always exceptionally high. We have a limited number of places available so if you want to take part in the greatest running event in the world while helping to make England a country where every child and young person can fully enjoy their right to play, please apply to run for us.

We’re accepting expressions of interest until midnight on 7 August 2020.

Please email with the following information:

Your Name  

Your phone number

Your email address

And please answer the following three question:           

  1. What’s motivated you to apply to run for Play England?

  2. How will you use the opportunity to raise the profile of Play England?

  3. How do you plan on reaching the minimum sponsorship target of £2,500? (e.g. sharing your online giving page on social media, organising a fundraising event, match funding from your employer).

Thank you so much for your interest in running the London Marathon for Play England!

We are delighted that you are interested in taking part in this iconic event.

Please use no more than 300 words per answer. Plan them carefully and give as much detail as possible as they play an important part in the assessment of your application. We will select a shortlist of potential runners based on the answers. Those on the shortlist will be asked to complete a more detailed application form. Thank you so much for your support and interest in this event.

Why run for Play England?

Play is an essential part of every child’s life. It is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as for social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives, playing and friends are usually at the top of the list.

At Play England we work to improve how organisations and local authorities provide for children and young people’s play and informal recreation. We believe that every child has a right to play and that they need time and space to do just that. The benefits to children are wide-ranging from improving their physical and mental health to building resilience through learning how to take risks and solve problems.

We are run entirely by volunteers who give their time to help everyone improve play in their area. Additional funding will secure our work for the future and ensure that children and young people of all backgrounds to discover who they are, and what they can be, through imaginative play. If you are successful in your application to run fo us you will need to pay a registration fee of £100 to secure your place and pledge to raise £2500 for Play England by 31 May 2021.

As a small charity, we endeavour to support you during the course of your fundraising and on the day and we will provide you with a Play England runners vest with your name on it for the event itself.

Note: the date of the marathon is scheduled for 25 April 2021 but this may be subject to change

If you’d like to support us now you can donate here.

Home page image provided courtesy of Virgin Money London Marathon

Playwork Qualifications

September 16th, 2019 by

Good news! NCFE CACHE has decided to continue offering the Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no: 501/0997/2) and also the Level 2 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (reference no. 500/9047/1) indefinitely. Play England spoke to a staff member at the awarding body recently who confirmed that their database shows an end date of 31 July 2027 for both qualifications, but this is because the system requires a date to be entered. As far as she is concerned, there is no final registration date.

If you wish to embark on a Playwork qualification and need to find a training centre, you can look for one on the NCFE CACHE website at or give them a ring on 0191 239 8000. 

ZURICH INSURANCE: Do the ‘underwrite’ thing and don’t bar adventure playgrounds from your services

February 4th, 2019 by

Play England and London Play are calling on Zurich, which recently withdrew its cover from several adventure playgrounds, to revisit its decision, issuing a Joint Statement which highlights what could be lost should other insurers follow suit.

Lawrence Waterman OBE, chair of the British Safety Council said:

“Young people need to learn about taking and managing risks – and designed and managed adventure playgrounds enable this by offering children stimulating, challenging environments for exploring and developing their abilities.   Because this play provision manages the level of risk, so that children are not exposed to unacceptable risks of death or serious injury, they have proved their value in creating safe places for this crucial aspect of becoming adult.  The accident and claim history of such places, often open only when supervising adults are present, is very good and it would be a great pity if unevidenced risk-averse behaviour by insurers threatened the availability of exactly those places where risk management can be experienced and learned.”

David Ball, Professor of Risk Management, Middlesex University added:

“Any threat to adventure playgrounds needs to be taken very seriously. Adventure playgrounds provide essential developmental experiences for young people which are so absent from modern lifestyles.”

A manifesto for Play

December 10th, 2018 by

A big thank you to everyone who has made our play policy forums so successful.

Over 150 playworkers, play rangers, academics, head teachers, public health workers and councillors have come together to help shape a new manifesto for play.
Huge thanks to hosts Bristol City Council, Bristol Play Network, Shiremoor Adventure Playground, Sycamore Adventure Playground and Pearson Street Adventure Playground!

Now we’ve concluded the forums, organised with the Playwork Foundation, we are collating all the feedback from the range of policy asks.

It’s clear that developing communities designed so children have the maximum opportunities to play is central. This means child-friendly streets, nearby parks and playgrounds. It means high quality staffed play provision, like adventure playgrounds, and play rangers who can support parents, children and young people build playful communities.

If you’d like to see the collated feedback, click here.

The feedback will help shape a Manifesto for Play, which will be launched in 2019. Watch this space!

In the meantime, we thought it would be appropriate to share this interview with Tim Gill on the key aspects of developing child-friendly cities.

Our submission to Labour Party Consultation on Statutory Youth Services

November 28th, 2018 by

Today, Play England made its full submission to the Labour Party’s consultation on Building Statutory Youth Services.

Play England welcomes Labour’s consultation on ‘Building a statutory youth service’. We support the creation of a National Strategy for Youth Work and a Charter underpinned by law, to define sufficient levels as well as a sustainable funding model to support the delivery of a statutory youth service. We believe that making youth services statutory will be of vital benefit to the health and wellbeing of our young people, and to the future of our society.

We also see the consultation as an important opportunity to address the need to protect, defend and rebuild an integrated approach to delivering play to support all children in England.  In our submission, we outline play’s myriad benefits, the unique nature of play and playwork and hence the need for a statutory duty for play and play sufficiency, backed up with a separate national, mandated body and charter.

To download our submission in full, click here.


Consultation on Labour Party’s proposal to make youth service statutory

August 30th, 2018 by

The Labour Party has opened a consultation on ‘Building a statutory youth service.’

Following this consultation process, the Party aims to create a ‘National Strategy for Youth Work and a Charter underpinned by law’ and ‘create a sustainable funding model to support the delivery of a statutory youth service’

The Party has said that “it should be the responsibility of the Secretary of State to promote and secure sufficient youth services, working together with local authorities and voluntary bodies. To support this ambition, a Labour Government would mandate a national body with dedicated ring fenced funding to oversee youth service provision across England. This body would work with all local youth service partnerships, review local youth strategies, monitor and distribute funding, and advise on professional and service standards.”

Play England believes this consultation is a great opportunity to support youth services and raise awareness about the need to protect, defend and rebuild playwork, playworkers and children’s access to free play provision.

Play England will be making a submission to this consultation.

What do you think?

We would like to get your views and input. If you want to submit to our response, please e-mail us by Monday 1 October.

To find out more about the consultation click here:


Play England’s response to ‘Child’s Play’ report by Children’s Commissioner

August 29th, 2018 by

Play England today welcomed recommendations in the report ‘Child’s Play’ by Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield for increased investment in play provision. The report highlights the urgent need for a joined-up approach to reverse the decline in children playing out. It draws attention to children’s worsening mental and physical health – and rightly argues that children’s play and physical activity must be a public health priority.

The Commissioner calls on the government to put out-of-school activity at the heart of its obesity strategy, pointing out it currently “focuses almost exclusively on nutrition, advertising and in-school physical activity”.

Play England has consistently argued that there needs a national strategy backed up by national and local funding. In 2010 the coalition government dropped the national play strategy and cancelled funding for play provision. National government grants to local authorities has been cut by over 30% since 2010. The impact of these cuts is clear: since 2014 nearly 400 playgrounds have been closed or are in line for closure, and Fields in Trust research shows 92% of local authority park departments have experienced budget cuts. Staffed play provision is also suffering from continued cuts.

It is very heartening that the report calls for investment to ensure parks and playgrounds are properly maintained and safe environments. The report also suggests that some of the government’s  ‘Sugar Tax’ should be re-allocated away from schools’ sports and healthy eating programmes and instead used “to promote play and activity outside of school, along with making healthy meals available to children during these times so that they have the energy and strength to take part.”  However, Play England believes that instead of reallocating money away from schools – which are already facing chronic under-funding  – the government needs to make new funding streams available.

Whilst looking at ways to reduce the cost of out-of-school play provision is a step in the right direction, if we are to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our society can access play provision, this needs to be free and publicly funded.  Play England welcomes the promotion of our Street Play project, which we piloted with funding from Public Health England. We also believe that publicly funded staffed play provision, such as Adventure Playgrounds, can help deliver the joined-up, community-driven play programme called for in this report. Adventure Playgrounds offer free, quality play opportunities in a safe environment. Many were built and developed by communities in areas of high social deprivation and have strong links with the local community including police, schools and public health bodies. These spaces attract children from a diversity of social backgrounds which is immeasurably important for social cohesion. Trained playworkers are uniquely placed to support children and families to help them build confidence about playing together.

We welcome the report’s recommendation that play provision needs to be strategically planned as part of local areas’ Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). Planning and design are also important ways to improve play provision. Play England supports the London Plan recommendations on recreational and informal play which state that all housing developments should include informal recreational spaces. Play England has asked that Adventure Playgrounds also to be included in the all new developments.

Many of the issues and recommendations from the Children’s Commissions report are echoed in feedback from play workers, teachers, play practitioners, parents, residents and local councillors who are participating in policy roadshows we are running to develop a Manifesto for Play. We believe that it is vital the Government takes notice of the recommendations of its Children’s Commissioner and acts now to tackle the health crisis of our children and young people.

Download the report here.


UK Children’s Commissioners stand together for a child’s right to play

July 31st, 2018 by

The UK’s annual celebration of play – Playday 2018 – takes place today!

This year all four children’s commissioners from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales stand together to support the importance of children’s play as an essential aspect of childhood as thousands of children across the four nations attend organised Playday events.

Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales and Anne Longfield OBE Children’s Commissioner for England are urging everyone to play their part in ensuring the creation of the best possible opportunities for all children and young people to embrace their right to play.

The four commissioners are calling for:

  • All adults to consider how they can help children and young people across the UK have time, space, permission and support to play, both in their family life and in their community.
  • Organisations to think about whether they are doing all they can to empower and involve children and young people to have a say in ideas and decisions that affect their rights – including their right to play.
  • Governments and statutory agencies to actively promote and protect children’s right to play through the provision of adequate resources.

Now in its 31st year, Playday celebrates ‘Children’s Right to Play’ as set out in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which recognises the right of every child to play, rest, leisure, enjoy recreational activities and free and full participation in cultural and artistic life.

The four national UK play organisations, Play Wales, PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play England and Play Scotland are calling on everyone – parents, grandparents, carers, childcare providers and support staff across the UK to help celebrate and promote the importance of play for all children.

In a joint statement, Play Scotland’s CEO Marguerite Hunter Blair, Play Wales Director Mike Greenaway, PlayBoard Northern Ireland CEO Jacqueline O’Loughlin and Play England’s Chair of Trustees Nicola Butler said:

‘We warmly welcome this support and call to action from the four Children’s Commissioners.

Providing opportunities for play is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to continue to work together to ensure that every child has enough time, space and permission to play every day of the year. So, let’s all get out to play on Playday and have the best fun ever”.

  • ENDS –


About Playday

Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. As well as an annual celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Playday is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland. On Playday thousands of children and young people get out to play at hundreds of locally organised celebrations – from small-scale neighbourhood get-togethers to large-scale public events. For more information see

About Play England

Play England campaigns for all children to have the freedom and space to play throughout childhood. As the national organisation for children’s play, Play England works with all those who have an impact on children’s lives to support and champion play as an essential part of childhood. For further information or to talk to a spokesperson, call 07802 722412 or visit

About Play Wales

Play Wales is the national charity for children’s play in Wales. We provide advice, support and guidance for all those in Wales who have a concern or responsibility for any environment where children and young people might play. Play Wales upholds children’s right to play. All children are entitled to quality play provision within their communities and we work strategically to achieve this goal on their behalf. For further information visit

About Play Scotland

Play Scotland was formed in 1998 to make the child’s right to play a reality in Scotland. The work of Play Scotland is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in particular Article 31: “States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” Play Scotland’s mission is to increase awareness of the importance of play to the development of children and young people in Scotland; to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland have equal access to diverse and quality play opportunities that meet their individual need.  You can become a Play Champion for Scotland by signing up to Scotland’s Play Charter.  Full details on our web.

For further information on Play Scotland visit or

About PlayBoard Northern Ireland

PlayBoard is the leading agency for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Northern Ireland. To this end, the organisation provides a range of innovative services designed to strengthen service delivery through advice, support, training and tailored provision. PlayBoard’s work is concentrated and prioritised within a framework of ‘equity, diversity and interdependence’ (EDI), and is consistent with the ethos of human rights, social justice and social inclusion. For further information on PlayBoard visit Email:


For more information please contact:

Play England’s Communications Officer, Sophie Bolt: 07802 722412
Play Wales’ Communications Manager, Angharad Wyn Jones – 029 2048 6050
Play Scotland, Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO 07795 954856   Office: 0131 313 8859
PlayBoard Northern Ireland’s Communications Officer Jon O’Rourke, Office: 028 90803380


Social Media:

Follow #Playday2018 on Twitter







Great start to play policy forums in Bristol

June 14th, 2018 by

A big thank you to everyone who helped make our packed out Play policy forum such a success yesterday in Bristol.

A special thank you to Bristol City Council and Councillor Helen Godwin for hosting the event, along with Bristol Play Network. The successful event organised with the Playwork Foundation, brought together those involved in or interested in play policy to help shape a manifesto for play.

Special guest Play Scotland’s Marguerite Hunter Blair outlined important initiatives supported by the Scottish government, such as the Place Standard, a planning tool which recognises the role of play in creating healthy communities. Play England’s Chair of Trustees Nicola Butler, pointed out that Westminster should be adopting initiatives like these not hindering children’s opportunity to play.

Participants strongly supported the call to reverse funding cuts, which are damaging the play sector and reducing children’s access to free accessible play. Reversing funding for local parks and ending the sell-off of public open spaces are also high on the list of manifesto demands. Fields in Trust research shows that while parks are highly valued by the public and usage is increasing, 92% of local authority park departments have experienced budget cuts in the past three years.

Playing Out’s Alice Ferguson updated participants on the progress being made in building support for Street Play and Carole Theyer from Sparks gave a rallying cry for play organisations to back the trailblazer apprenticeship and the need to develop quality playwork training.

All feedback from these forums will be collated and incorporated into a manifesto for play to help put play back on the political agenda. In the meantime, Play England is developing campaigning resources and is keen to put together case studies which show both the impact of the cuts on play provision, as well as the success stories. If you would like to help us with this work, please e-mail

If you live in the north east of England, the next policy forum is waiting for you to register! It’s on Thursday 12 July, hosted by Shiremoor Adventure Playground, in Tyneside.

For more details click here.

Get set for North East Play Policy forum at Shiremoor Adventure Playground

June 14th, 2018 by

A manifesto for play – a policy development event

10am – 3pm, Thursday 12 July 2018

Shiremoor Adventure Playground, Brenkley Ave, Shiremoor, North Tyneside NE27 0PR

This event is free! All welcome!

Hosted by Shiremoor Adventure Playground, this Play policy forum ‘A manifesto for play’, is a unique opportunity for everyone in the north east and beyond to come together to discuss the issues – both nationally and locally – for the play sector including children’s play in schools, the particular benefits of staffed play provision and more. You’ll also get a tour of the Adventure Playground!

Speakers include Nicola Butler from Play England, Ali Wood of Playwork Foundation, Kath Smith from the ‘Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future’, project, Claire Twinn, from Waterville Primary School and Keeks McGarry, Manager of Shiremoor Adventure Playground.

The forum is part of a roadshow of discussion forums organised by Play England and the Playwork Foundation taking place across the country to consult with all those involved in and impacted by children’s play – to help shape a manifesto for play, coordinate campaigning for better play provision, and share latest thinking and developments in play.

These discussions will feed into and shape a national manifesto for Play to help put play back on the political agenda.

This event is free! All welcome! The Adventure Playground are very kindly provided refreshments and lunch. Donations to Shiremoor are welcome.

To register, please book your place here:

If you want more information, please e-mail