Government funding for new adventure playgrounds

At least 15 new adventure playgrounds will be built across England as the government attempts to encourage children to play outside.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls today confirmed the government is making £225 million available for play facilities.

Last December’s Children’s Plan outlined the government’s plans to create new playgrounds and supervised adventure and ministers today set out how local authorities can finance this ambition.

Mr Balls said parents and children had told the government that they wanted improved access to outdoor play activities.

“As parents we all know that having the time, space and opportunity to play freely and safely is one of the defining characteristics of a good childhood,” he said.

Mr Balls continued: “Children need places which allow them to meet their friends and have fun – being able to burn off their energy in unstructured play is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and life.

“That is why we’re making such a big commitment to invest in outdoor play facilities for children.”

Sixty-five local authorities have been invited to bid to take part in the first round of funding allocation, of which 15 will be selected for £2 million capital funding as well as “significant funding”.

Other local authorities can also qualify for around £1 million in capital funding if they submit satisfactory bids.

All applications must include plans for new, staff playgrounds with indoor and outdoor facilities aimed at 8- to 13-year-olds.

The government wants an additional 3,500 children to have access to outside play spaces by 2011.