�1 million investment to bring quality play facilities to Devon

MORE than �1m is being invested into providing high quality play sites for children across Devon, it has been announced.

MORE than �1m is being invested into providing high quality play sites for children across Devon, it has been announced.

Devon County Council has successfully secured �1.1 million from the Government's Playbuilder Project, for the development of 22 or more play areas for 8-13 year olds across the county.

Funding is targeted particularly at sites that encourage and enable physically active play and include an element of risk and challenge. They are also looking at projects which are attractive to girls and inclusive of minority ethnic groups and which more children, including disabled children, can access safely.

Councillor John Smith, Devon County Council's Executive Member for Children and Young People's Services, said: "We are committed to providing more safe and stimulating play areas for our young people across the County.

"Play is vital for the development of our children and young people and this funding will enable more people to provide these play opportunities for our young residents."

Funding is for capital projects only, and can therefore only be used for developing sites, not ongoing maintenance.

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Children and young people and their communities must be involved in deciding what should be in the play space and what the money should be spent on.

Devon County Councillor Vanessa Newcombe, Chair of the Playbuilder Project Board, said: "This is fantastic news that we have received over a million pounds to enhance and develop play facilities across Devon, and improve access for a whole range of children and young people.

"We are hoping to see some really inspirational and creative ideas from the groups applying for funding, that will leave a legacy to future generations of children, as well as providing a focus for some great partnership work in local communities.

"We see local communities at the heart of delivery on play and given the very local level of play provision will be working closely with District-level play partnerships.

"We will encourage new community-led proposals and bids on play. Community groups and the local voluntary sector make a major contribution to local play provision - these groups will often have a particularly helpful role to play in ensuring provision is inclusive of all parts of the community and that parents and children are actively involved. "

The project will be launched on April 6, and expressions of interest will be invited until 15 May.

Any groups or organisations would like further information can visit the website www.devon.gov.uk/play.