8 Mar 2006

A MAJOR conference today (Thursday) heard the office of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) call for a Northern Ireland-wide play policy and strategy.

The Commissioner’s office joined with NIPPA – the Early Year’s Organisation, Playboard, and the Derry Children’s Commission to call on Government to take play seriously.

“This conference is calling on everyone involved in children and young people’s lives to think carefully about improving the opportunities for play,” said Barney McNeany, Acting Commissioner at NICCY.

“Our research has shown that there is simply not enough good quality play provision. And children and young people have told us many times the difficulties they face in finding and using play and leisure facilities right for their age.”

Mr McNeany said the conference helped all involved in play to look at what was happening currently in Northern Ireland and share good practice.

“Everyone who had taken part in setting this conference up is convinced of the need for a Northern Ireland Play Policy and Strategy. At NICCY play is one of our priorities; and play is quite literally something we take very seriously.”

Speakers from Wales and England joined local delegates at today’s conference. Workshops were held on influencing national play policy, the outcomes of play, the Toybox project, physical play, inclusive play, influencing local policy, rural and environmental creative arts and challenging all involved to develop a common understanding of children’s play needs

Notes for Editors

  • You can read Mr McNeany’s key note speech to the conference here 
  • You can read the speech from Nigel Williams on play from October 2005 here 
  • You can read the evaluation of the conference here
  • You can find out further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People here on the web site