In November 2021 Play England commissioned research into the spread of adventure playgrounds in England, with a view to updating and expanding on records compiled in 2017. This was both to update information held and to form the basis for an adventure playground network, which might offer a peer support mechanism as well as a means for Play England to assess needs and update the sector on government policy.
A report summarising the key findings has been published. Recommendations include:
- Establishing a network would enable playgrounds to feel less isolated and more easily seek support to strengthen sustainability. It would provide a source of peer support and opportunities to share good practice, as well as a mechanism for Play England to alert playworkers about new government policies.
- Training in, or support for, website development would help adventure playgrounds raise their profile, to generate interest and promote their benefits to funders and the wider public.
- Support for and/or training in finding sources of funding and writing funding applications could contribute to financial sustainability for many playgrounds. This should include where to source demographic data for neighbourhoods and ways in which data can be collected and managed by playworkers, to support funding applications.
- Similar research, undertaken at four or five year intervals, would enable further comparison, identify trends in playground development and provide the evidence on which to make the case for the development of play provision.