Why Should We Play?

Research in the UK has shown that rates of depression and anxiety in teenagers has increased by 70% in the past 25 years, not only that but, one in ten children aged 5-16 years have a diagnosable mental health disorder, one in twelve children and one in fifteen young people deliberately self-harm and about 35,000 children in England are prescribed anti-depressants.

Over the last ten to twenty years childhood has changed significantly with various factors leading to a reduction in a child’s access and ability to play.

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These factors include children living in a world which has a much faster-paced, life-style, society is far more risk-averse, there is an increased focus on academic success and play has been undervalued rather than seen as an essential tool to help a child develop social skills, creativity and on-going learning.

National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) was created to establish how important play is for learning, creativity and a host of other skills needed to survive in this 21st century world we inhabit. NCDUK wants to raise awareness about young peoples rights and wellbeing.

We should be allowed to play, whether young or old, because creativity, freedom and access to your inner imagination – are integral factors to maintaining mental health and wellbeing.

Have you noticed how alive and good you fill – simply by walking down a county road, or touching the bark of a tree’s trunk – nature is bountiful and quite simply it makes you feel good. Being playful, breathing outside, being creative, immersing yourself in an imaginative, playful and natural environment is a simple and perfect tonic and one we must allow children and adults alike to access and enjoy so they understand how to find that inner peace and goodness as children, and adults, grow.

NCDUK, which is now in its second year, was started by the Save Childhood Movement – a collaborative network of people who are committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of childhood and who support, inform and, where necessary, challenge leaders and policymakers in order to build more caring and value-led societies.

Wendy Ellyatt, CEO of Save Childhood Movement, said: “Childhood is changing fast. From the impact of screen technology to the restrictions of an increasingly risk-averse culture and the downward pressures of the schooling system, children’s rights and freedoms are being eroded and their opportunities for free play have been drastically reduced. In the lead-up to National Children’s Day UK 2015 we want to remind everyone just how essential play and playfulness is to human creativity and wellbeing.”

In 2010 IBM carried out a study of 5,000 chief executives across 60 countries and 33 industries and found that creativity was selected as: ‘the most crucial factor for future success’.

Creativity, imagination and playfulness are fundamental to every aspect of us as human beings, in our social skills, in our health and well-being and even in our business success – playful and innovative thinking is essential for a 21st century.

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There are so many ways to be creative, painting a plant pot, planting and nurturing a seed, baking a cake, writing a letter, lying in the grass and watching feeling the wind on your cheeks – nurture yourself and those around you in the simplicities of freedom, nature and play and grow inside.

NCDUK – was held around the UK yesterday 17th May 2015.

Creative Genius In Bath

Very proud to have written the cover feature for Bath Magazine this month…read more here.

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Do you eat Biscuits? Make sure you check out Evil Corp’s Biscuit Wars…the very thing to go with your afternoon tea and biscuit fix…

Are you creative? Do you live in the vicinity of Bath and beyond? I would love to interview and see what makes you tick, get in touch…

 

Is Bath a truly democratic city? Not yet….

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Bath has the potential to lead the way internationally through it’s democratic process and in turn become a truly communal city, by embracing an opportunity to allow young people to have a say in policies, laws, programs and budgets.

Bath can achieve this by becoming a ‘Child Friendly City’ – this is a global initiative designed by UNCIEF where children’s rights are reflected through the embodiment of the convention of the Rights of the Child, at a real and local level.

Cities across the world are hoping to achieve Child Friendly status from UNICEF, which includes basic requirements, such as access to health care and education, protection from violence, exploitation and abuse, to walking safely in the streets on their own, meeting friends and playing, having green spaces for plants and animals and influencing decisions about their city, amongst other elements.

In the city a number of passionate organisation’s and people would like to see Bath get ‘Child Friendly Status’. This influential steering group believe that through this unique distinction, our city would have a persuasive calling card and will be able to provide world-leading approaches to participation and democracy.

Today, 1st October everyone in the city is invited, alongside Bath-based cultural, civic and community organisations, to the egg Theatre, to participate and listen to an inter-generational conversation about the Child Friendly City initiative to galvanise interest and to urge BANES to support this exciting and important enterprise.

Mayor of Bath and Councillor Cherry Beath, Bath Festivals, Kate Cross, Director, at the egg theatre and Penny Hay, Director of Research, 5x5x5=creativity and Senior Lecturer in Arts Education at Bath Spa University are behind the scheme amongst others from the Bath Cultural Forum, Creative Bath, schools and Mentoring Plus.

Penny Hay: “We can re-create Bath as a child-friendly community through democracy and participation. Designing a truly democratic society with the children’s voice at its heart”.

Penny, who is a Champion of Children’s Right, founder of Bath’s Forest of Imagination, School Without Walls and arts education charity, 5x5x5=Creativity, adds: “We want to have genuine engagement with children and young people, (and parents) rather that patronise them with what adults think is right for them.”

Cherry Beath adds: “We want to make 2015 the year of Bath as a Child Friendly City.”

To find out more about this initiative and to help put Bath on the global map through Child Friendly Status join the Cultural Forum at the egg on Wednesday 1st October from 6pm-8pm or find out more here: www.cfba.org.uk.