Children playing outsideThe government will spend more than £5 million to encourage children to play outside and get more exercise, it has been announced.

Just a third of boys and a quarter of girls meet the recommendation of at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, while more than a quarter of adults get less than 30 minutes of exercise per week.

About £1.1 million of the fund has been set aside for Street Play England, which aims to make streets a safer place for children to play, as well as providing practical tools and training as well as creating opportunities for social connection.

The scheme, called Playing Out, will be run by Street Play England, alongside national campaigning charity Play England, London Play, which focuses on play provision in the capital, and researchers at the University of Bristol, who will evaluate the health impact of the project.

Playing Out is part of a three-year Department of Health funded project to get children playing out regularly, including in areas of deprivation. The Street Play project will encourage all local authorities to launch positive policies towards street play, raise public awareness of the benefits of it and enable residents to make it a regular feature of their community life.

Alice Ferguson, co-founding Director of Playing Out, said: “If children are to get the daily physical activity they need, they must be able to play right outside their own front door. Our role in this project will be to support residents, particularly in deprived areas, to make this a reality in their own streets. Anyone interested can contact us for help and advice and to join the national street play network.”

Cath Prisk, Director of Play England, said: “Active kids become active adults and we know one of the places kids are most active is on the streets outside their own houses when they are able to simply go out there and play, like most adults did.

“Everyone can do something to make their own communities more playful and we are very happy to be given this opportunity to support residents and local voluntary groups across England in making their own streets playful again.”