Leeds ,

Senior councillors set to reinforce future commitment to children’s play in Leeds

Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked to reinforce the city’s commitment to children’s play at a meeting of the Executive Board next week.

At the meeting, to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 20 March, Councillors will review progress against the city’s existing 2007 Leeds Play Strategy and be asked to reaffirm Leeds’ Commitment to Children’s Play.

Play is a fundamental and vital part of childhood and is essential for children’s growth and development. In her August 2018 report ‘Playing Out’, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, stated that play is important for children as it promotes fun; health and wellbeing; learning; and social and emotional development – along with fuelling children’s imagination, creativity and expression.

Since 2007 when the Play Strategy was first introduced, Leeds has invested in services and children’s play to ensure that children in the city are happy, healthy and have fun growing up.

The changes and developments in Leeds over the past 10 years have been significant, including the launch and progression of the council’s ambition to be the best city in the UK for children and young people to grow up in. Leeds City Council is committed to making Leeds a Child Friendly City where children and young people are put at the heart of a strong economy in a compassionate city.

However, there is still more to be done to ensure that the child’s right to play continues to be supported, and Leeds’ Commitment to Children’s Play has been developed to support this.

The new strategy will build on the 2007 Leeds Play Strategy and will align plans with Child Friendly Leeds, Best City plans and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Leeds Commitment to Children’s Play also supports Leeds’ recently refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan.

Based around three main aims, the new strategy will look to increase opportunity for children to play; create time and space for children to play; and ensure the recognition and understanding of children’s play.

If agreed by the Executive Board, the strategy will be supported by a citywide play partnership consisting of a range of stakeholders including Leeds City Council, Leeds universities and third sector play organisations. Members of the play partnership will work together to develop and deliver the action plan.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said:

“Children learn through play. They have fun through play. They build relationships and social skills as well as motor skills and communication skills through play. Play is essential for children’s growth and development and in Leeds we are committed to ensuring children’s access to play opportunities is supported and enabled as part of our Child Friendly Leeds ambitions.

“Working with partners, the new Leeds Commitment to Children’s Play Strategy will support children and young people with opportunity, time and space to play independently and with others and will recognise the importance of play for a happy and healthy childhood.”

To see the Executive Board report, visit https://bit.ly/2F7Y8RF agenda item 7.


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