Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk




What Is Play?

'In 1926, the then Prime Minister, Lloyd George stated:

"Play is a child's first claim on the community. No community can infringe that right without doing deep and enduring harm to the minds and bodies of its citizens. "

The playwork profession defines play as behaviour which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated, that is, performed for no external goal or reward. A response to a biological drive. In simple terms this means that children are playing when they are doing what they want, when they want to do it, and for their own reasons. Children play in many places -parks, streets, home, gardens, open spaces - often without the presence or intervention of adults, but their freedom to play unsupervised is restricted by adult imposed barriers. This has led to an increase in the supervision and support of children's play opportunities. Playwork

The district will provide play opportunities for children 5-13 years in a variety of settings, where children can learn and develop a range of invaluable physical, mental and social skills. These opportunities will take place in community centres, in parks, in leisure centres and in the statutory playcentres

Statutory play provision is provided by 15 fulltime playcentres across the city.
The playcentres are dedicated providers of open access play provision, offering supervised play opportunities for children 5-13 years, out-of-school hours. The play centres are open throughout the year. The distribution of playcentres is uneven, and some districts have no playcentres, i.e. Sutton Coldfield, Yardley, Northfield, Edgbaston.

In districts with playcentres, the district will provide out of school hours play opportunities 5 days a week, 1 of which should be a weekend.

The centre can provide a combination of the following styles with a core focus on open access.

"Open access
"Restricted access
"Stay and play


The district will provide Holiday play activities in partnership with voluntary organisations. There will be a wide range of organisations such as community groups and churches as well as Youth & Community Centres, Playcentres and Community Leisure Centres. The district Playschemes will typically operate for between 2 and 5 hours per day and will be play provision, not childcare. Some schemes will make a small charge.
The district will provide support; training and grant aid to local voluntary organisations to enable them to provide play activities.

Children's Play Service

The Children's Play Service provides quality play opportunities for children and Young People aged 5 to 13 years.

The Play Service includes:

- 15 Play Centres Providing year round play opportunities.
- Support to over 200 local Easter and Summer holiday playschemes in conjunction with voluntary organisations.
- Organising Special Events for children and Young People.
- Provision of training and support and grant aid to voluntary organisations and volunteers.

Play opportunities are provided for children and Young People aged 5 to 13 years in a variety of settings, where children can learn and develop a range of invaluable physical, mental and social skills. These may be one-off activities or part of a long term programme.

For specific information about play services in your area, contact your District Office.


464 9986


303 9292

Hall Green

777 9722

Hodge Hill

303 9282


303 9282


464 9464


464 9812

Perry Barr

464 9809

Selly Oak

464 9072

Sutton Coldfield

464 9083

Central Strategic Team - Community and Play