AIP joins  UK Hospitality to lobby for re-opening of Indoor Play

AIP joins UK Hospitality to lobby for re-opening of Indoor Play

5 Feb 2021 - For immediate release - The Association of Indoor Play (AIP) has joined forces with UK Hospitality and is working to revisit and establish the guidelines to be presented to the Government for safe re-opening of the indoor play sector.

AIP, with the support of UK Hospitality, is calling for the re-opening of the centres at the same time as  bars and restaurants, supported by evidence showing primary school age children spread the virus far less than others in society.

The indoor play sector, welcomes 60 million children visits for indoor play, role play and baby sensory, and has been one of industry hardest hit by the pandemic, with Centres only allowed to open for 12 weeks in total since March last year.

Indoor playcentres are recognised as a cornerstone to children’s social and physical development, provides support with the mental health of parents and children and is a stepping-stone in socialisation.

This comes at a time when the Child Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, warns that children will be living with the legacy of the pandemic for "years to come", particularly those from disadvantaged communities, and wants to see a major investment in support for children.

Indoor play is a very cost-effective way to enable children to experience physical play as well as mental stimulation. The least well off in society and those with challenges in life are the ones that suffer the most. Opening up indoor play venues would benefit a part of society that is suffering the most. 

The industry has taken extraordinary measures including additional cleaning regimes, fogging, pre-booked play sessions, C02 monitoring and table ordering for the Cafes,” said Janice Dunphy, Chair of the AIP.

Sunil Bhopal, an expert in child health at Newcastle University, says too many people dismiss the impact on children, claiming they are "resilient" and will "bounce back".  He believes this is misguided and instead growing up in a world where even "playing with your friends is illegal" threatens to cause long-lasting damage to many youngsters. "I don't think it is an exaggeration to say children and their families have been abandoned." 

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About AIP

The Association of Indoor Play (AIP) is a not for profit organisation set up to be the voice of the Indoor Play Sector. It was formed in August 2020 by a group of seasoned national indoor softplay providers. The committee spun off from BALPPA (The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions) with the aim of creating a more specific and targeted vehicle to represent the smaller operators in this specialised sector. The overriding aims of the association are to raise the profile of the benefits of indoor play with the public and the Government, to raise the standards and reward excellence within the industry and to have a community where operators can discuss issues and access core industry information.

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