New research from Fields in Trust showing the ‘crucial’ role of parks and green spaces has prompted the Association of Play Industries (API) to highlight once again the decline in playgrounds it uncovered in its Nowhere to Play campaign.
The Fields in Trust findings established a link between an individual’s use of parks and green spaces and an improvement in their life satisfaction, sense of worth, happiness and anxiety levels.
The API’s Nowhere to Play report showed that between 2014/15 and 2015/16, local authorities across England closed 214 children’s playgrounds with plans to close a further 234.
Furthermore, a recent Heritage Lottery Fund report highlighted cuts to budgets for the running of parks, with 92% of park managers reporting cuts over the past three years.
Mark Hardy, chair of API, said: “The Fields in Trust research shows, for the first time at national level, a direct and statistically significant link between public parks and green spaces and health and wellbeing.
“We need to act now to reverse the decline in parks and green spaces due to budget cuts and use this and other research data to inform public policy.”
He added: “The downward trend in park and playground provision is happening fast and let’s not forget that once a park has gone it’s probably gone forever. We are repeating our call for a £100m investment to replace lost playgrounds and help reinstate children’s access to free play and activity.”