No balls allowed: Councils told to tear down ‘anti-play’ signs

Alasdair Clark

Scottish councils are being urged to remove ‘No Ball Games’ signs to help improve kids’ health

COUNCILS in Scotland have been asked to tear down “no ball games” signs by an SNP MSP in a bid to ensure more space is available for children and young people to get fit and have fun. 

The SNP MSP Ruth Maguire wants councils across Scotland to tear down the signs and provide more space for children and young people to play.

In 2013, the Scottish Government’s then children’s minister Aileen Campbell said a new strategy was needed to change the perception of children and young people in public places being a problem, a view she said was characterised by “no ball games” signs. 

“It’s really sad to see a no ball games sign on a piece of pristine grass perfect for playing on – no ball games, no play, no fun.” Ruth Maguire MSP

Ruth Maguire MSP said the signs are anti-fun and said that removing them would enable more children and young people to get active. The MSP said this would benefit both their physical and mental health: “It’s really sad to see a no ball games sign particularly on a piece of pristine grass perfect for playing on – no ball games, no play, no fun.

“But it’s time we changed our approach and started encouraging our children to use the green space we have in our communities, rather than cordoning it off and preventing them from having fun.

“Opening up the vast swathes of land that currently have the ‘No Ball Games’ restrictions on them can transform our communities and give our children and young people the chance to enjoy our neighbourhoods that little bit more.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon expands challenge to get Scotland’s children reading

Maquire added: “We are rightly trying to improve mental and physical health in our young people – and taking steps such as this to make them more active can be instrumental in leading that change, as initiatives like the Daily Mile have already been.

“It’s time councils ended their No Fun policies, recognised the importance of play for children’s development, tore down No Ball Games signs across the country and let kids enjoy themselves.”

Aberdeen became the first Scottish city to remove the age-old signs in 2013 after a successful campaign backed by football legend Dennis Law. 

CommonSpace contacted a number of local authorities to see if they had plans to remove their signs, but none had responded at the time of publication. 

Picture courtesy of Elliot Brown 

Look at how important CommonSpace has become, and how vital it is for the future #SupportAReporter