Commitment to child and family friendly spaces

Leo and Jianping Zhang enjoying the Playday fun at Marine Gardens. INCT 32-701-CON
Leo and Jianping Zhang enjoying the Playday fun at Marine Gardens. INCT 32-701-CON

The benefits to children of imaginative play were highlighted yesterday (Wednesday) as Carrickfergus joined in a national initiative.

Playday was celebrated at Marine Gardens - one of hundreds of community events across the country.

As well as use of the play area, the programme included free activities such as a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon modelling and Punch and Judy.

Alderman Beattie, chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities sub-committee, said: “Play is such an important part of any child’s development and Playday provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate it and promote its many benefits. It also highlights the benefits of imaginative play to parents and communities.

“Outdoor play is vital for any child, providing stimuli to learn and the health benefits of being in the open air. The range of play opportunities on offer in Carrickfergus Borough is extensive and gives parents and carers some great opportunities to get outdoors with their youngsters

“Getting outside to play is healthy. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle. Play reduces stress and helps fight the obesity epidemic in our society today. So many good things come from good play.”

Co-ordinated by Play England, PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales, Playday is also an opportunity to campaign on issues affecting children’s play.

Alderman Beattie added: “In light of government cuts to play services across the country, it is more crucial than ever that we unite to stand up for play.”

“Carrickfergus Borough Council has set out a clear committed to children’s play with a mission to create child and family friendly play spaces which will support our young people in building relationships and learning new skills that will positively develop their capacity both socially and emotionally.

“Last year we published our play strategy for the borough and the ‘Children’s Charter’ which set out our ten pledges to the children and young people of Carrickfergus Borough and how Carrickfergus Borough Council will achieve those pledges.”