Glendale is highlighting the positive impact spending time outdoors has on childrens’ health, following a report which revealed hundreds of playgrounds have closed across England in the past two years.

The national green services provider, which specialises in the management and maintenance of public and private green spaces, believes the closures will lead to a negative impact on children’s long-term health.

 One in every five children aged 10 to 11 is obese according to the NHS, with a lack of exercise one of the leading causes.

According to the report by the Association of Play Industries (API), over 200 playgrounds across England were closed by local authorities between 2014 and 2016, with plans for a similar number to be shut in the future. 

The UK government has a duty under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), to protect and promote informal recreation and play opportunities for all children and young people.

With the reduction in the number of play areas readily available and with awareness of the associated maintenance budgets, Glendale has developed a fresh approach to grounds maintenance services within schools, creating educational landscapes to encourage social integration and play.

It offers extensive management programmes for the creation and maintenance of new play environments, including natural furniture and play materials, play and learning e-plans, tree supply and planting, and the creation of wildlife areas.

Glendale’s South West based landscaping team helped transform a plot of unused land within the grounds of a primary school in Bideford into a garden, designed using pupils’ drawings as inspiration. As well as outdoor education areas, the garden features a sensory area, bird boxes and a greenhouse.

Work has also recently been completed at a primary school in Surrey, where Glendale’s specialists created a learning sandpit, which includes items made from recycled materials such as logs as natural furniture, and old tires as flower planters.

John Nuttall, director of landscapes at Glendale’s sister organisation epd (Environment, Planning and Design) said: “The health benefits of spending time outdoors are well known; it promotes active, healthy lifestyles and encourages people to participate in physical and social interaction, whether that’s running, cycling, walking or even gardening.

"The figures relating to childhood obesity are concerning and unless it’s tackled now the issue will only get worse. As constant developments in technology can make it very tempting for children to stay indoors, it’s imperative there are plenty of outdoor spaces available for children to access.

“It’s also important for children to have time and space away from away from televisions or computer games to let their minds wander free, which is proven to boost creativity and productivity. 

“Playgrounds are a key part of this, providing a place where children and communities can come together to spend time and enjoy being active and keeping fit. The health habits children develop at a young age can stay with them for life, and playgrounds also provide the perfect place to explore and learn about the environment, connecting them with nature, promoting life skills that will serve them well as they progress into adulthood.

“Increasing budget cuts inevitably cause problems for local authorities, but it’s important that the work to create sustainable, beautiful green spaces for the benefit of both children and communities in general continues, resulting in a positive impact on health and wellbeing.”