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1 August 2012
Unite, Britain's biggest union, is celebrating national playday today with a call to get out and play and support the country's tens of thousands of playworkers.
Now in its 25th year, Playday 2012 is celebrating children's right to play with over 500 events today and throughout the summer across the UK – from straw bale Olympics in Bath to water fights in Wrexham.
Unite represents playworkers, who support children aged 4-16, to play in communities across the UK. It is the only union to have campaigned for the recognition of playwork as a profession – a profession which is being particularly hard hit by widespread closures to adventure playgrounds and community play ranger services.
In the last survey conducted into the sector (July 2011), 80.8 per cent of playworkers polled said that their employers had cut back on hours and 75 per cent were at risk of redundancy. A situation set to worsen still further with 88 per cent of cuts still yet to happen.
As part of the campaign, the union is calling for investment in staffed play provision, including adventure playgrounds, play rangers and out-of-school settings, and that playworkers should benefit from nationally recognised qualifications and terms and conditions.
Mike Robinson, Unite national officer, said:“Unite is calling on young and old to get out and play today. Show your support for the thousands of playworkers and volunteers across the UK who, despite the coalition's crushing cuts to local government budgets, are making playday happen at an event near you.
“With this government's cuts hitting play services and hammering the hopes of young people up and down the country, today is the day to stand up for play.
“Playday is the biggest sector event in the UK, as well as a celebration of children's right to play. As the coalition cuts bite even more deeply we must not only defend children's right to play, but invest in the people, services and infrastructure that can make it happen.”