Councils embrace risky play

By Joe Lepper Children & Young People Now 26 May 2009

Councils are ignoring the so called "compensation culture" and investing in more adventurous play equipment as part of the £235m England wide revamp of play facilities.


Latest research by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found councils are keen that new playgrounds focus on fun and excitement rather than "wrap children in cotton wool."

The government is looking to see 3,500 new or revamped facilities built by 2011 as part of the investment.

Of these, 500 have opened and, according to the LGA, equipment already being bought includes giant climbing walls, tree houses and zip wires.

LGA chairman Margaret Eaton said: "Children playing outside, getting grass stains on their clothes, twigs in their hair and grazing their knees, is a fundamental part of growing up. Children need the opportunity to have adventures and let their imaginations run free."

She added that this sense of adventure has also extended into play schemes, with the research showing activities on offer now include more unusual pursuits such as circus skills and surfing.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has welcomed the LGA’s findings.  Peter Cornall, its head of leisure safety, said: "Parents have to accept that their children may get injured and that bumps and grazes are not serious and are all part of growing up."