Play England (formerly the Children’s Play Council) is the leading national voluntary organization for play in England. In 2006 it was supported by the central government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport to develop and test the feasibility of a small number of strategic indicators for play facilities and informal recreation spaces in local neighbourhoods. The indicators were to have the potential to assess local authority performance in ensuring the availability of good quality facilities and spaces for all children and young people. For the purposes of this study, play facilities
and spaces are of three types, deﬁned by
proximity and size, from the smallest and most proximate – ‘door step’ – through ‘neighbourhood’, to the largest and covering a wider area – ‘local’. ‘Door step’ play facilities and spaces consist of small play areas, with pieces of play equipment such as slides and swings, primarily aimed at young children; and nearby green spaces for children to play on. ‘Neighbourhood’ spaces and facilities are larger, in the case of facilities containing more equipment, in the case of spaces including small parks, and they cater for a wider age range. ‘Local’ spaces and facilities include an array of more larger and more specialized areas such as ball courts, playing ﬁelds, and adventure playgrounds, some of which may
be supervised. For full descriptions, see Table 1 (Children’s Play Council, 2006b).