The Parks Alliance (TPA), the UK’s voice of parks, today published ‘The National Playground: growing the next generation’ on the importance of parks to family life. The current squeeze on budgets is putting our parks and green spaces at risk and data highlighted in the report show that parents with children under 10, are most concerned about the impact of budget cuts on local parks, with 7 out of 10 worried about the prospect of cuts. In this parent group, 8 out of 10 visit parks once a month, the highest number of any park users.
Parks are an integral part of childhood. In an average month, 48% of all children in England visit local urban parks. Across the country it ranges from 46% of children in the North East to 54% in the east of England. Other data highlighted in the report include:
- Park visits accounted for an estimated 827 million visits taken to the natural environment in England 2014/15.
- Every month, on average, three quarters of children (75%) visit the natural environment with adults from their own household.
- Play was the dominant reason given by adults for the visits they took with children to the natural environment. 47% of children took visits that were motivated by adults wanting to play with their children and 43% took visits where the motivation was ‘to let the children play’.
Mark Camley, Chairman of The Parks Alliance, said:
‘Public parks have provided generations of young people with safe space to play and enjoy themselves. Parks and green spaces enable families to spend quality time together, and help with physical and mental health. The case for maintaining parks is clear but their future is under threat. Since 2010, 86% of parks managers’ report cuts to revenue budgets. The Park’s Alliance is concerned about the risk of closures, sell-offs and a drop in the quality of our green spaces and calls for a public Inquiry in to how parks are funded.’
The report also features visitor data from three local parks in Crosby, Wheatley and Wetherby highlighting their importance to their local communities.