Great start to play policy forums in Bristol

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.

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