London Play/New York Play
Immediate release: Friday, 10 November 2006
Message from New York
Thumbs up (or fingers crossed?) for London Play
The clock is ticking away. Early next week London Councils will make their final decision whether or not to continue funding London Play to enable us to provide play support services for all young Londoners: their Grants Committee meets on 13 November, and the full Leaders Group the following day. There is also a concern that they may approve funding for our service on a ‘rolling programme basis’ only – which would result in a limited number of boroughs being able to benefit in any one year. This would be a regressive step as we have built up an effective, regional organisation which reaches in and supports the play sector in all London boroughs.
London Play continues to receive messages of support from many individuals and organisations, including Parenting UK, who all say how much they appreciate what we do to ensure that all of London’s children have equal access to play opportunities.
We also received this letter from Roger A. Hart in New York who liaises with the United Nations for the International Play Association:
“I am shocked to hear of the possibility that the (regional) government might cut funding to London Play’s support services for the city. The local government in New York and other US cities is now realizing that, like the UK, children’s freedom to play safely has been so eroded in the past three decades that it needs to improve play provision and begin to train playworkers. It is ironic that at this moment in time London, that has been a leader in play services, is now thinking of pulling back!
“Much has been made of the importance of play in reducing obesity but the issue is much bigger than that. As the UK debates daily the issues of unruly public behavior and the loss of civility, the issue of maintaining safe, democratic, inclusive public play space becomes more and more central to the reproduction of a civic culture and a democratic society. The UK government is investing heavily in citizenship training in schools and children’s participation in local decision-making but we know from research that it is in everyday play spaces that the quality of our relationships with neighbors are formed and that community is built with children.
“It is obvious to me that every large city needs an advisory, information and advocacy center on children’s play like yours. It is essential in order to promote and improve play provision in these times of assault on children’s access to safe outdoor settings. We wish you all the best in your efforts and hope that the government of the UK comes to see that commercial private play provision will never be able to substitute for the serious societal loss of public play provision. This problem is bigger than Britain but we need the UK to continue to be informed and a model for other democracies in this matter.”
Sincerely, Roger A. Hart
Children’s Environments Research Group,
Ph.D. Program in Environmental Psychology/Center for Human Environments,
Graduate Center of the City University of New York,
365 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309.
• London Play campaigns for more and improved out-of-school play services for children and young people across London, and supports playwork in the capital. Registered charity no. 1104731, company no. 4055882. Contact London Play: tel. 020 7272 2464, www.londonplay.org.uk
• For previous media releases, please see our website www.londonplay.org.uk
- Contact Information
- Dr Ute Navidi
- London Play
- Contact via E-mail
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