Wales first country in the world to legislate for play
The Welsh Government is taking a global lead on promoting the importance of children’s play and for the first time, legislating to place a duty on local authorities to assess the sufficiency of play and recreational opportunities for children in their areas.
Today regulations and statutory guidance for play “sufficiency assessments” come into effect, setting out criteria for assessing play opportunities in each local authority area: audits of open spaces, play and recreation provision and other considerations including traffic, transport and community initiatives.
The assessments will be used to develop local authority action plans to improve play opportunities for all children across Wales. The deadline for the completion of assessments is 1 March 2013.
Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:
'Wales is already leading the way on promoting children’s rights and the articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is no more important right, than the right for children to enjoy the freedom and enjoyment of play. It is essential we guarantee the availability of places that are safe and freely available, for children to play, now and in years to come.
'Play is vital for children’s development. Research tells us that play benefits children’s health, their ability to make friends and understand themselves and others. Play can contribute significantly to their emotional, physical and cognitive development. It also has a role in tackling poverty, offering life experience and helping children to learn resilience during difficult times.
'It’s good for children but also benefits their families and the whole community. These regulations show that Wales values its children and takes their rights seriously.'