Play

It was Full Council last week and, given that our debates are rarely reported in full I thought I would publish the proposing speech I made on the subject of play. Although our motion was amended, it was good to see an understanding of the importance of these schemes from most members present.

I have included a picture of Ed Balls and Andy Burnham launching the Playbuilder scheme a couple of years ago – and I am grateful to them for this unforgettable image!  

 

The ability to play safely and independently is one of the defining characteristics of a good childhood. Play is first and foremost to help children have fun – but it can also keep them happy and healthy and allow them to develop and achieve their full potential. We need exciting and stimulating places for children to play which are close to where they live and easy for them to get to. Public play spaces are an essential part of any community.

We all want to keep our children safe and that means making sure they can play safely. But we also know that as our children get older they need to be able to learn to take risks so that they can thrive. Play is a vital way of helping them do that.

In the face of largescale cuts, the first who are suffering are those who played no part in the development of the global financial crisis. They are not responsible for the crisis the banks and the need of the Country borrow money to rescue them. They were not in the queues outside Northern Rock trying to get out their savings. They were out and about looking for somewhere to play.

Good play areas are well used by children and parents alike and provide an excellent social focus for the community, but they don’t exist everywhere. The Playbuilder strategy offered children a stimulating and safe environment where they could let off steam, mix with others and get active. The enjoyment children get from play can give them a life long love of being active and also build up a passion for sport.

This issue debate recognises that when money does become available then one of our priorities should be restore these schemes. It is not fair to ask the children of Gloucester to pay the price. When there is an opportunity, lets put their needs at the top of our agendas.

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