East Lothian has an excellent number of outdoor play opportunities for children, a new report highlights.

East Lothian Council commissioned Play Scotland, the representative body for play in Scotland, to assess the quantity, quality and accessibility of play spaces for a Play Sufficiency Assessment, which the council is legally required to carry out.

Play Scotland undertook a detailed assessment of the 121 council-owned or managed formal public outdoor play spaces in the county, as well as extensive consultation and engagement particularly with children and young people.

Key findings of the assessment, which were set out in a report considered at Tuesday’s meeting of East Lothian Council, include:

  • East Lothian has a wealth of informal outdoor play opportunities across a wide range of natural settings, including woodland and forests, coastal areas and beaches, and grasslands and wetlands
  • Most formal play spaces are attractive and provide a range of opportunities for physical and 'risky' play for younger children. There are significantly fewer opportunities within formal play spaces for physical and 'risky' play for the 12–17-year-old age range
  • Formal play spaces generally include opportunities for a variety of play experiences, however there are minimal play opportunities for disabled children and young people
  • Most East Lothian residents are satisfied or very satisfied with their nearest open and green spaces.

The assessment makes a number of recommendations around further improvements to the quality and range of play opportunities, as well as enhanced accessibility and inclusion, where future funding opportunities would make this possible.

The findings have already enabled Amenity Services to adjust the specification of proposals for new play areas and will help inform the development of future plans and strategies.

Council Leader Norman Hampshire said:

“One of East Lothian’s greatest strengths is its open spaces, which are greatly valued by local residents and visitors. Play areas are an integral part of many of these open spaces, giving young people the opportunity to have fun together and offering benefits in terms of physical activity and social play. We are very proud of the great work which takes place to maintain and develop these play areas across East Lothian. The findings of this assessment provide us with helpful recommendations on the way forward, to ensure formal outdoor play spaces are accessible and continue to be a key part of community life in East Lothian.”

The paper can be read on the council website - item 7.

Published: Tuesday, 23rd April 2024