Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]225m to Put Adventure Back in Children's Lives; Playtime: Ed Balls, Right, and Gordon Brown Launch Their Children's Plan at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green Today

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]225m to Put Adventure Back in Children's Lives; Playtime: Ed Balls, Right, and Gordon Brown Launch Their Children's Plan at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green Today

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

DOZENS of adventure playgrounds are to be built in inner city areasacross Britain.

They will have super-sized climbing frames, assault courses and forts and willbe supervised by adult staff.

The idea is included in the Government's long-awaited Children's Plan, whichputs old-fashioned play at the heart of moves to make young people happier andhealthier.

Ministers aim to plug the play gap for eight to 13-year-olds, who are too oldfor swings and roundabouts but too young for youth clubs.

Some 30 adventure playgrounds will be built from a budget of [pounds sterling]225 million overthree years, with deprived areas taking priority. In addition, the cash willallow another 3,500 children's playgrounds to be refurbished or new ones builtfrom scratch, so that every family has somewhere safe to play.

A [pounds sterling]160 million fund will also kickstart a programme of youth centres for olderteens, eventually to be funded from money lying in dormant bank accounts.

The measures were announced by Children, Schools and Families Secretary EdBalls, who vowed to end what he called a "No Ball Games Here" culture in somecities.

His 10-year plan also includes radical changes to school tests and thecurriculum, while encouraging parents to get more involved in education.

Every child will have a "red book" of progress at primary school, similar tothe logs given out by the NHS to record early years health development.

More ambitiously, the plan claimed it would tackle lifestyle issues outside ofschool. Research will begin into areas such as whether adverts put childrenunder unfair pressure to lose weight or contribute to under-age drinking.

The measures come nine months after a Unicef report strongly criticised thequality of childhoods in Britain. The UK came 21st in a league table of "childwell-being", behind Poland and Hungary.

Mr Balls said he wanted Britain to be "the best place in the world for childrenfollows childhood to grow up". …

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