Hidden Resource in Every Community

British Association of Leisure Parks Piers & Attractions (BALPPA) joins over 150 exhibitors for ELEVATE 2018 at Excel, London Docklands this week. Across the 9th May & 10th May visitors can speak with many organisations, all with one goal in common ‘to get everyone more active’.

BALPPA’s Family Entertainment Centres Sub Group (FECA) will be highlighting the hidden benefits of Indoor Play Centres/Family Entertainment Centres, and BALPPA will be on hand to discuss membership opportunities with operators and trade organisations alike.

Speakers Janice Dunphy (FECA Chair & MD of Web Adventure Park) and Gordon Forester (FECA vice chair & MD of Safari MK) will be discussing how these well-loved centres could be used as one of the tools in the war on Childhood Obesity.

BALPPA, which is the trade association representing the interests of over 300 leisure attractions and indoor play centre operators, says visits to an indoor play centre/FEC is an excellent alternative for giving children “exercise in disguise”. Often seen as a treat or somewhere to go on a rainy day, children, parents, carers, professionals and even some operators aren’t aware of the benefits that ALL can gain from a two-hour visit to your local playcentre.

BALPPA is beginning to reach out to health ministers, health professionals, schools, parents and other professionals in an aim to start raising awareness of these resources that are being overlooked and ignored, when they could provide a benefit to all, and support the challenge to getting young people active and healthier.

Janice Dunphy, Chair of the BALPPA says: “Indoor Play is an excellent activity alternative for children and parents. Children literally don’t stop when they enter an indoor play centre and spend most of their time climbing, jumping, running, swinging and sliding, we also have research data that notes for children with specific needs how these play spaces can be used for a therapeutic benefit and much more.

“As this industry continues to grow , the quality and extensive range of play equipment that FEC’s offer challenges young minds as well as developing movement skills and providing more than the government’s recommended active minutes per day. The beauty of PLAY in play centres compared with more structured activities, is that the health benefits of indoor play are hidden. Kids are doing what comes naturally ‘just playing’ and all they know is that it’s great to have fun and meet friends.”

The benefits of Indoor Play are not only linked to health and fitness but social benefits, mental health and overall wellbeing. And we must not forget how parents, carers and adult family members benefit too.

Charity Autism Puzzles commented

Indoor play centres are also incredibly secure, which is fantastic for parent/carers who are possibly unable to relax in other leisure facilities. For autistic children, the natural fight or flight response is heightened, and weighted towards flight. This means that for many families, there is a serious health and safety concern that their autistic family member will run away. This is not possible when visiting indoor play centres as most offer a secure buzz in/out system. As a result, parent/carers can allow their autistic child more autonomy, whilst either sitting down for a cup of coffee or giving one-to-one attention to the autistic child's sibling(s).

Parents/Carers/Professionals who want to find a high quality indoor play centre near them should visit the BALPPA website at

BALPPA members conform to a Code of Practice that means their play centres offer a safe and secure environment for children and they provide an opportunity for parents/carers to play with their children and learn together as a family unit.

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