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To: Robert Jenrick, MP

Stop our local parks and playgrounds from closing down - #PlayMustStay

Please stop closing down our local parks and playgrounds and increase your spend so that more parents have access to their local play facilities

Why is this important?

Watch the video about the campaign here:

My name is Leyla Preston. I have three children and I own a parenting magazine called Motherhood Diaries (

In the summer of 2019, I joined a campaign with The Association of Play Industries (API Play) called #PlayMustStay which encourages parents to visit their local parks and playgrounds with their children and keep them off the screens.

Cast your mind back to when you were a child. I remember always being outdoors and spending most of my time playing with my friends. I only ever came home when it was time for dinner or sleep. It was such a fun time, and I really enjoyed being outside socialising and burning my energy. As a result, I have such fond memories of playing at my local park/playground, which was just minutes away from me on foot.

Nowadays, children have a very different life, most of which is now spent indoors, because of diminishing parks and playgrounds and the constant lure of screens. In 2016, API Play researched into the state of England’s parks and playgrounds and found that local authorities had already closed 347 playgrounds to date. Next year, they plan to further decrease their spend on play facilities by almost £25 million per year, which means more parks/playgrounds will close. And once they’re gone, they’re gone forever! This means a lot of communities cannot get to their local park or playground, and the vicious circle of keeping our children indoors will continue–and how do you occupy your children when you have millions of things to do yourself? Screens!

As with everything, a balance is key but this new world is seeing an epidemic of excessive screen time, which has led to childhood obesity, mental health issues and sleep problems because kids are not getting enough exercise and mental stimulation from unstructured outdoor play, which is deemed more beneficial than structured play. Don’t forget that play also encourages social interaction, physical and mental development and, of course, learning through play.

We need to take back control and together with our local communities encourage our local government to increase their spend on parks and playgrounds and make them understand that this cut, which they think will save money will cost more in the long run through medical expenses alone.

I am not alone in thinking this. Mumsnet surveyed 1,111 parents with children aged two to twelve years old and found that 72% of parents with children who suffer health issues like obesity agree that lack of outdoor play has played a role in their child's health problems.

We need more access to parks and playgrounds, but we can’t do this on our own. The government must understand how vitally important our beautiful pockets of nature are to our kids by urging them to stop closing our parks and playgrounds and increase their spend so more parents can get to their local park. Not all parents have access to a car or public transport, so let’s build more parks and playgrounds and have them on our doorstep, so we are not pulled in by the lure of screens. We will be paid back in dividends for the rest of ours and our children’s lives.

Please sign the petition so we can bring this issue of not enough parks and playgrounds to the government for review.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Check out my full article and video on the Winter's Tale campaign here:

Learn more about the campaign here -

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2020-03-17 19:27:41 +0000

100 signatures reached

2020-02-28 14:05:01 +0000

50 signatures reached

2020-02-21 11:36:12 +0000

25 signatures reached

2020-02-20 17:16:56 +0000

10 signatures reached