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Newsletter, Play England, policy, Project Wild Thing, risk:benefit, sustainability, The Hospital Club, The Play Return -

Hi all The online shop is open! (Apologies if you've seen the posts of last few days and knew that!!) IMG_5735 And if you check the last blog you can see a 15% discount too :-) I'd never actually heard of 'black Friday', but as everyone else seemed to be offering a discount this weekend... However I'm with all the environmental organisations out there, I'm pushing a sustainable brand of consumerism... buy a Kleen Kanteen and re-use people! IMG_5772Another exciting week - Monday especially. As a Director of The Wild Network I was invited to speak at The Hospital Club's Sustainability Week, focusing on Project Wild Thing and discussing, amongst other things, how we can get children and young people to really, really care about sustainability, and of course how simply getting outdoors as kids is one of the solutions. Then today I enjoyed popping over to the Play England AGM where we heard from, amongst others, Tim Gill talking about his synopsis of the evidence for Play Provision "The Play Return".

Did you know 10% of the NHS budget goes on addressing type 2 diabetes? And that exercise is a known preventor of that disease? And that active kids make active adults?
Sounds like a pretty clear case to me, but we've a way to go before every public health lead across the country sees it. We also heard from Professor David Ball, a guru on all things risk:benefit. If you have to do risk assessments for any reason please do check out the simple risk:benefit proforma he (with Tim Gill and Bernard Spiegal) developed, sponsored by the Play Safety Forum. Rest of the week I've been working on the online shop and prepping for the East London Design Show - do take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer if you can! ELDS_2for1_voucher Have fun this weekend, and do share your outdoor adventures!

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Campaigns, Children's Play Policy Forum, education, health, housing, Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales, Playboard Northern Ireland, Playday, playtime, policy, politicians, schools, streetplay, The Play Return -

Today is PLAYDAY!!!

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Today children and young people from across the UK will be taking part in community events to celebrate Playday – the national day for play. A report published in support of the campaign - The Play Return (pdf) - highlights the impact play can have, including the increase in physical activity rates for children where their schools and communities support play. TPlay Return Coverhis in turn leads to better results in education and improved health.

In particular free play in school break times, where children and teenagers are encouraged to do what they want to in their own free time, leads to greater physical activity than organised sport, and to better social skills and  academic outcomes.

This may seem self-evident - and indeed to many it is irrelevant, play is important in and of itself. But in a world of ever dwindling resources and competing demands, where the philosophical underpinnings of resource allocation is on 'merit', then some good hard facts come in handy. Especially in a world where children are regularly threatened with 'ASBOs' for playing football in the street or climbing trees.

Commissioned by the Children’s Play Policy Forum, the report is aimed at politicians and policy makers, and as a tool for campaigners in support of ensuring children have the time, space and opportunity to play outdoors. It was written following a round table last November, hosted by Play England, that brought together Nick Hurd - then Minister for Civil Society - and leaders from health, education, play, housing and the private sector. At the meeting Nick backed 100% the motion that Government should support play, supporting the strong statements made by representatives from organisations such as the Local Government Association, Wilmott Dixon and Public Health England. Author of the report, Tim Gill said
[caption id="attachment_666" align="alignright" width="158"]130812 Claudia Draper b Randal Cremer School Haggerston Credit: Hackney Playing Out[/caption] “Outdoor play impact(s) significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also in many cases can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities. "From the perspective of politicians and policy makers, the report highlights that investing in play can, and does lead to multiple benefits including improved educational attainment, a healthier society and increased levels of tolerance within and between communities”.
As the former Director of Play England who organised that meeting with Nick Hurd, and now the founder of Outdoor People, I say to politicians and policy makers:
It makes no sense to close playgrounds, to reduce school playtimes or to put up 'No Ball Games' signs in a world where a fifth of 5 year olds are overweight or obese, where mental health issues amongst young people are massively on the rise, and where we have to raise a generation ready and willing to fight for the environment. Invest in outdoor play, and you invest in both the present and the future.
This year the Playday coordinating organisations across the UK challenge everyone to respond to the statement:

‘Play is…’

Outdoor People is responding by saying:IMG_3743
Play is health Play is happiness Play is hope 
And I ask you: what would the world be like if Play is...not? Now in its 27th year, Playday provides an opportunity for children, young people, parents and communities to come together to highlight and celebrate the positive impact play has on the everyday lives of children and young people. Outdoor People welcomes this report, and encourages everyone to use it where arguments are necessary. Where those in charge of making play happen - in schools, hospitals, housing estates and shopping areas, in parks and green spaces and in streets - need the case made. In Wales that means ensuring Play Wales secures futureIMG_3847 funding as well as continuing to support the play duty placed on every local authority. In Scotland and Northern Ireland it means lending more support to the Play Strategies that are protecting and encouraging local investment in play. And in England that means everyone pulling together to reinvest in the national strategic body for play, Play England, and communities everywhere fighting back against the encroaching ennui that sees traffic, academic results and 'elf'n'safety as insurmountable barriers, that encourages parents to feel guilty if their kids are playing out and that makes schools reduce the time and space children have to play. You can find a Playday celebration near you on the Playday website: http://playday.org.uk/playday-events/events-near-you.aspx And you can get involved in...

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