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Play needs increased funding

With the latest report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing girls spending more time involved in play activities than boys, Play England is highlighting how the chronic funding crisis on the play sector means girls in particular are missing out on play opportunities. The ONS report ‘Children’s engagement with the outdoors and sports activities, UK: 2014 to 2015’ shows that whilst boys spent longer on sports activities, girls spent more of their time in play activities – 127 minutes per day compared to boys at 96 minutes.
Yet government’s investment in play has been cut from £235 million prior to 2010 to zero in 2018. Between 2012 and 2017, Sport England received £1 billion from the government and National Lottery funding. Play England is calling for these levels of national funding to also be made available for play.

Here is a model letter to MPs. Please complete and send this to your local MP!

Your name & address (you must include this in order to receive a response from your local MP)

Your MP (find out who they are, and contact parliamentary e-mail here🙂

Dear XXX

I am writing to ask you to support an increase in national funding for play provision.

The benefits of play reach into every aspect of children’s lives. It is vital for their enjoyment of childhood as well as for social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Independent research, as well as the Chief Medical Officer’s own recommendations, emphasizes the effectiveness of play in helping children’s health and wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation recommends that regular play helps keep children mentally well.

Access to high quality, staffed play opportunities also benefits parents and families, providing important social support, crucial lifelines in deprived neighbourhoods and for parents in need.

 However, investment in play has collapsed: prior to 2010, government investment in play was  £235 million. Now, in 2018, it is zero. 

This is damaging the quality and availability of public play provision in local parks and open spaces. National government cuts to local authorities is also forcing staffed play providers, such as adventure playgrounds and after-school clubs, to cut services or close.

These cuts are limiting children’s access to free, local play spaces and taking a toll on children’s health and wellbeing. According to the government’s childhood obesity strategy, nearly a third of children aged two to 15 in England are overweight or obese. The problem is worse amongst children from the most deprived areas, with five-year olds twice as likely to be obese compared to their most well off counterparts. A Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition survey has found that young people’s mental health problems have become more severe over the last two years.

Investing in play benefits everyone and is vital for this country’s future. Between 2012 and 2017, the government and National Lottery invested £1 billion in Sport England. I believe that the same levels of funding need to be made available for play.

Please support Play England’s ‘Save our Play’ campaign which calls on the government to pledge matched funding between sport and play – to benefit all of our children and young people.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours sincerely,


Your name


You can also download the model letter here.

(1) Comment

  1. […] 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 […]

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