By Nicola Butler, Chair of Trustees
Play England welcomes the timely report, ‘The Case for Play’, launched today by the national deafblind charity, Sense, with former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett. It reveals that disabled children in England and Wales are missing out on play opportunities that are vital to their development.
All children have a right to play, as it is essential for their health, development and well-being. Disabled children have an equal if not greater need for high quality play opportunities, since they are often denied the freedom of choice enjoyed by their non-disabled peers.
‘The Case for Play’ identifies a lack of attention by government, insufficient funding at a local level and negative attitudes towards disabled children and their families. It follows a three month public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for disabled children aged 0-5 with multiple needs.
This report comes at a time when local and national play services are experiencing the most severe cuts in a generation, and services for disabled children are often the hardest hit, making it even harder for disabled children to access the play opportunities that are their right.
Sense are campaigning for changes to the way play services are designed and delivered and plans to produce a series of toolkits for parents, providers and commissioners of play.
Speaking to Children and Young People Now, I argue that increased investment in play services and facilities including parks, public spaces, schools, play schemes and street play is vital if disabled children are to access the play they need and deserve.
Find out how you can support Sense’s campaign here.
Read the report and recommendations here.