Play scheme funding cuts hit poorest children, association warns

Islington Play Association is calling for Islington Council to
reinstate funding for holiday play schemes following evidence that
current schemes exclude deprived children, writes
Shirley Kumar

The association’s director Steve MacCarthur said the council
withdrew up to £100,000 a year funding to council and
voluntary run holiday play schemes last year.

This led to all six play schemes serving around 364 minority ethnic
communities to close down.

Highlighting the Holiday Schemes and Social Inclusion of Young
Children in Islington report, commissioned by the council’s
Children’s Fund, he blames child care tax credits direct to
the parents rather than the provider and a government drive to
provide child care facilities for working parents.

“Council run schemes cost up to £100 per week per child
and voluntary ones cost up to £50 per week. It is too
expensive for low income families who are likely to use child care
tax credits elsewhere.”

The report shows 505 children between 5-13 years lost out on play
schemes last year.

Macarthur added: “Pushing back welfare payments socially
exclude the most culturally and financially deprived children. Many
end up on the streets.”

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