When the Government’s new play strategy was published, we jumped at the opportunity to get on board. It is a great scheme which the Government has finally put to paper; giving us the guidelines we need to develop our workforce and improve the playwork environment for children. The vision includes making local neighbourhoods safer and interesting places to play in, as well as ensuring that the routes to children’s play spaces are accessible for all children and young people. I am extremely pleased to welcome the launch of the strategy, and in particular, the recognition that the play workforce has a role in the long-term sustainability of the project.
As one of the leading voices in Playwork we have a large base of qualified playworkers who have a crucial role in engaging with children and young people, and are key to implementing this strategy. We need to take responsibility for creating child-friendly communities that value and enable play and this strategy has done just that.
We have regional teams that work with local authorities around the country to enforce the playwork strategies and uphold the high standards necessary to ensure the well-being of our children. This enables play to be embedded in local communities’ strategies which the new scheme has as its core process.
SkillsActive has always noted that planning and investing in local play spaces is integral to the development of our children. This new strategy brings to our attention children’s needs within the wider environment that must be considered in order to benefit them, and it is great that the Government is backing this. This guidance helps to sustain the provision for children and young people’s play, giving our playworkers the benchmark they need. We must defend their right to play and this strategy is exactly what our playworkers need to enable this.
The innocence of children’s play shouldn’t be stifled by rules. Children should be free to make mess, noise and friends. It is all part of the experience of growing up and the Government’s new guide will enable children to have this freedom. We look forward to supporting the first ever play strategy for England, not miscounting that it is the first to include a commitment to Playwork, ultimately building communities that are child-friendly.
Stephen Studd is Chief Executive of SkillsActive.
For further information on Playwork please contact Melanie Diamond or
Lewis Stagnetto at The SPA Way on 020 7403 6900 or [email protected]