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Summer is a special time where children get to take a well-deserved break from school – even if some are looking ahead to results day nervously! 

It’s a really important time when children get to be children. That means seeing more of family and friends, spending time in their local area and in their communities, and it means getting to do fun activities and play. 

Children in The Big Ask told me how much they valued play: 

“More places for kids to play and have fun things to do”

Girl, aged 6.

“A place to play sports as some places are for cost and isn’t easy for people to pay”.

Boy, aged 14.

‘For disabled children it always comes down to money. Certain things can’t be supported due to funds, like activities/clubs etc’.

Boy, aged 12.

As Children’s Commissioner I want to stand up for children’s right to play safely in their local communities and to support great facilities and community youth services and the creation of safe public spaces for children. 

For some children, safety in their local area is a real concern and the long summer break can be a difficult time. I have made improving attendance one of my key focuses because having children in school – and coming back to school after the summer holidays – is one of the best ways to keep children safe. 

Tragically, there is an annual rise in serious violence affecting young people over the summer months. There have been some positive initiatives to reduce violence over the last few years, with evidence that violence reduction units and other measures are making a difference in some areas to improve children’s lives.  

But, more action is needed to deliver high-quality, coordinated interventions in the lives of the children most at-risk of violence and more provision of fun and safe activities for children over the summer. Children often tell me that the thing that would make them feel safer is more positive activities to do – this is backed up by the strong evidence for sports programmes impact on reducing violence, for example. 

‘As we grow up in a society of gangs its harder for people nowadays to get out their houses without having the fear of getting robbed or stabbed, even if it’s something like going to the park to play football’

Boy, aged 16.

‘Girls (including myself) won’t wear certain clothes or cover up or won’t play sport or go for a jog because they don’t feel safe in the streets’.

Girl, aged 13.

‘The budget cuts closed youth centres and sporting clubs that help get people off the street’.

Boy, aged 16.

I want every child to have a fun, playful and most importantly safe summer this year. For children and families looking for fun summer activities in your local areas – find your local authority. For children and families looking to get involved in sport this summer –  find a local sport club

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