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Play and Recreation – What We Do


One of the national outcomes in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: National Policy framework for children and young people 2014-2020, is the active and healthy physical and mental wellbeing of all children. This outcome requires initiatives that enable children to enjoy play, recreation, sport, arts culture and nature, which is in conjunction with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

DCYA Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation

The DCYA capital grant-funding scheme for play and recreation provides capital funding to support new and existing play and recreation facilities for children and young people. The total amount of funding made available each year is €250,000. A maximum grant of €20,000 is allocated to each Local Authority. Local Authorities are invited to apply for funding for projects, which provide: 

  • New and innovative play and recreation spaces and facilities (New and innovative projects can include new facilities, equipment, designs and /or the utilisation of non-traditional play spaces.
  • Refurbishment or upgrading of existing play and recreation spaces and facilities.


National Play Day

Since 2011, the DCYA has provided annual funding to support National Play Day. The aim of National Play Day is to help increase public awareness of the importance of play. Grants are offered to Local Authorities to organise activities that promote a theme that is decided by DCYA and the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network. The theme for National Play Day 2018 was ‘Celebrating 25 Years of a Child’s Right to Play’. The theme helped to highlight Article 31 of the United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child which was ratified by Ireland 25 years ago. Children and young people could participate and enjoy games such as skipping, rounders, marbles, relays and obstacle courses. Artistic and imaginative options include creative play elements such as messy play, art, dress up and den building. 23 Local Authorities staged Play Day events in 2018.


National Recreation Week

National Recreation Week is funded by the DCYA for older children and young people aged 12 upwards. A maximum of €1,700 is available under this fund to each Local Authority. The theme for National Recreation week is the same as the theme for National Play Day, which is identified annually by the DCYA and the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network. 21 Local Authorities staged National Recreation Week in 2018

Local Authority Play and Recreation Network (LAPRN)

This group was established in 2012 to introduce a more coordinated and interagency approach to achieving the main goals of the play and recreation policies at both national and local level. The member of the group are key Local Authority managers and staff responsible for the local delivery of play and recreation services in communities across the country.

National Recreation Week and National Play Day are promoted and developed through the partnership between DCYA and the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network (LAPRN), as is the DCYA Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation.


Play and Recreation Policies

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures - Annual Report for the second year of implementation, April 2015 – 2016 
Annual Report for the third year of implementation, April 2016 – 2017

National Recreation Policy for Young People - Summary 

National Recreation Policy for Young People 

A National Play Policy

READY, STEADY, PLAY! A National Play Policy - Executive Summary