Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, is supporting the campaign to save indoor and soft play centres in Scotland. Mr Briggs has submitted a motion at the Scottish Parliament which has gained cross party support from Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent MSPs (see below). Indoor and soft play areas employ hundreds of staff across Edinburgh and the Lothians, whose jobs are at risk due to closures. Indoor play centres were due to open on the 14th September, but was postponed with 4 days’ notice. The new opening date of 5th October is looking increasingly unlikely with the rise in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Scotland.
Thousands of pounds have been spent by indoor and soft play centres preparing for a reopening that is looking like it will not happen. The autumn and winter months are the busiest times for indoor and soft play centres, with the weather being less good.
Indoor and soft play centre campaigners have held a rally outside the Scottish Parliament today, Wednesday 23rd September to raise the profile of indoor play centres and highlight the lack of support from the SNP Ministers and the Scottish Government.
Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said: “Indoor and soft play areas have spent thousands of pounds getting themselves Covid-19 ready, to minimise the spread of transmission, and allow them to open their doors again.
“These businesses have been told at short notice that they are no longer able to reopen and many are at real risk of closure, threatening jobs and peoples livelihoods. If the indoor and soft play areas are being singled out to stay closed, then the Scottish Government must provide them with the necessary support to survive through to next year. Indoor and soft play areas are valuable in the community, allowing young children to play and interact, as well as being sociable places for parents.”
Jennifer McNaughton, manager at Pandamonium Play Centre, said: “The majority of family run soft play areas in Scotland will not survive after the announcement at the start of October if they do not receive financial support from the Scottish Government. Indoor and soft play centres in England, Ireland and Wales are allowed to be opened with strict guidelines and since mid-August in England. Why are other sectors such as night clubs and theatres allowed to open when indoor soft play areas are not, which provide cheap and cheerful unstructured play, that prevents obesity and is crucial for children’s mental health.”
Miles's motion is below.
Motion Number: S5M-22774
Lodged By: Miles Briggs
Date Lodged: 21/09/2020
Title: Save Scotland's Indoor and Soft Play Centres
That the Parliament believes that Scotland’s indoor and soft play centres are critical to providing exercise and fitness locations for younger children to learn to play together; values the role of indoor and soft play centres as social hubs for the whole community; supports the small business owners who operate indoor and soft play centres across Scotland; notes that, while under-12s are not required to socially distance under Scottish Government guidance, indoor and soft play centres are still prevented from opening despite catering for a younger age group; acknowledges the disappointment and frustration that it considers is felt by many indoor and soft play businesses that their planned reopening date of 14 September 2020 has been delayed; supports the rally being held safely outside the Parliament on 23 September to inform Members of these issues, and believes that it is critical that Scotland’s indoor and soft play centres are provided financial support by the Scottish Government to prevent the loss of these valuable small businesses.
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