SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has called on councils to tear down ‘No Ball Games’ signs across Scotland in a bid to provide more space for children and young people to play.
Removal of the signs – a scourge of every child’s attempt to have fun – was suggested as an option by the Scottish Government in 2013, with some councils already taking action to take them down. Now the SNP’s Ruth Maguire wants to see this approach replicated across the country.
Since becoming an MSP, Ruth has been a strong ‘Play Champion’. In March 2017, she led a Holyrood debate celebrating and welcoming Scotland’s first Play Charter – and in October she officially launched Play Scotland’s new ‘Play Types Toolkit’ at Scotland’s first ever play convention.
Ruth has also visited local play champions, St Luke’s Primary School in Kilwinning, to see the primary school’s committed play culture first hand – and spoken in a debate about the importance of ensuring inclusive play in our schools.
Ms Maguire has pointed to the need to improve childhood mental and physical health as a key reason for wanting the signs to be removed – which would allow children to enjoy public greenspaces across Scotland by playing their favourite sports and games and being more active.
Commenting, Ruth Maguire said:
“It’s really sad to see a no ball games sign, particularly on a piece of pristine grass just perfect for playing on – no ball games, no play, no fun.
“But it’s time we changed our approach and started encouraging our children to use the green-space we have in our communities, rather than cordoning it off and preventing them from having fun.
“Opening up the vast swathes of land that currently have the ‘No Ball Games’ restrictions on them can transform our communities and give our children and young people the chance to enjoy our neighbourhoods that little bit more.
“We are rightly trying to improve mental and physical health in our young people – and taking steps such as this to make them more active can be instrumental in leading that change, as initiatives like the Daily Mile have already been.
“It’s time councils ended their No Fun policies, recognised the importance of play for children’s development, tore down No Ball Games signs across the country and let kids enjoy themselves.”
Chief Executive of Play Scotland, Marguerite Hunter Blair, added:
“Ruth Maguire is a dynamic Play Champion and we welcome the energy and passion she brings to this much needed campaign.
“The social, physical and health benefits of children playing freely outside far outweigh the outdated reasons for Councils having NO Ball Games signs.”