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Play: Facilities

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of publicly run play areas for children available in (a) 1997 and (b) 2007. (154787)

The information requested is not collected centrally. We recognise fully the benefits of play for children and we continue to take steps to support and promote the provision of opportunities for play. For example, between 2008-09 and 2010-11, we are providing over £1.1 billion for schools so that every school will be offering access to extended services by 2010. Through this, children and families will be able to access breakfast and after-school clubs, a range of activities and community services, with areas for play an important element of the provision.

In addition, the Government are supporting improvements to the quality of parks and green spaces in all our towns and cities, especially the most deprived areas, so that everyone has access to good quality spaces close to where they live. The quality of parks and green spaces is being driven up by the Government-supported Green Flag Award Scheme; knowledge, capacity and skills within local authorities have been enhanced through the How To programme and the work of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and many communities have improved their local spaces through support Groundwork, the Living Spaces programme and the Liveability Fund.