Minister for Children announces €2 million for local authority playgrounds
Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan TD, today announced the allocation of 32 grants, totalling just over €2 million, to local authorities for the provision of playgrounds around the country. “The scheme is part of the implementation of Ready, Steady, Play: A National Play Policy, launched in March of this year. The 32 playgrounds to be built or refurbished under this scheme represent a significant increase in the number of playgrounds in Ireland. All playgrounds in the scheme will be free of charge to the public” stated Minister Lenihan. “These grants, along with the recently announced €3 million for playgrounds in RAPID areas, bring Government expenditure on playgrounds to over€5 million during 2004” he added.
The Local Authority Playground Grants Scheme, administered by the National Children´s Office (NCO) and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, provides 50% joint funding to city and county councils for the development of new, and refurbishment of existing, playgrounds. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of the quality of the proposal, value for money and the demand for a playground in the area. Consultation with children as part of the project was a requirement of the scheme.
Ready, Steady, Play: A National Play Policy was launched by Minister Lenihan in March 2004. The aim of the policy is to increase the provision of publicly provided play facilities in Ireland. “The development of the policy by the NCO, which covers the years 2004 -2008, was as a result of consultation with children and young people, who identified the lack of play and recreation opportunities as a major quality of life issue” stated Minister Lenihan. “There are 52 actions in the policy and responsibility for implementation of these actions lies with a number of Government Departments, the NCO, Local Authorities, City and County Development Boards (CDB’s), Health Boards and the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education” he added.
“The development and implementation of the National Play Policy is an integral part of the National Children´s Strategy. This Government is committed to implementation of the Strategy and to responding to the needs of children in the very important area of play. Children throughout the country will benefit enormously from the playgrounds to be built or improved under this grant scheme” concluded Minister Lenihan.