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Play and play development

Young people make up a third of the population of Belfast, making our city one of the youngest in Europe. Play is an essential part of both human development and social development. Play has long been known to have a significant role in building communication and social skills, creativity and problem solving in children, plus there is a connection between play time and mental health.

Our team promotes opportunities for children to access a child led free play environment across the city by:

  • providing regular play opportunities across the city
  • promoting inclusion through provision of different play types
  • providing play services in areas with limited opportunities
  • supporting play projects in local communities through training, resourcing and practical support
  • raising awareness of the value of play and promote play opportunities
  • supporting and enabling child-led play opportunities

There are a wide range of factors that can to create barriers to play. One of the principal contributors is the lack of access to wide range of play environments. Ideally children should be able to play in adult free, physically diverse and challenging spaces.

For more information on our programmes and activities contact our Play Development Officer on 028 9032 0202 ext. 3527 or email play@belfastcity.gov.uk.


Our four play centres are managed by qualified and experienced play staff. Activities include after-schools clubs, Saturday clubs and seasonal schemes.

NameAddressTelephoneEmail address
Ballysillan Play Centre80 Ballysillan Park Belfast, BT14 8HD028 9072 1941play@belfastcity.gov.uk
Loop River Play CentreCourtney Hall, 76A Cregagh Road, Belfast, BT6 9EQ028 9045 3289play@belfastcity.gov.uk
North Queen StreetHenry Street, Belfast, BT15 1DJ028 9075 3897play@belfastcity.gov.uk
WhiterockWhiterock Close, Whiterock Road, Belfast, BT12 5HQ079 7996 7648play@belfastcity.gov.uk

Holiday arrangements

Play centre opening hours may vary during public holidays.

View our holiday arrangements

Contact us
City & Neighbourhood Services
028 9027 0470
Children & Young People Unit
City & Neighbourhood Services Department
Cecil Ward Building
8-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast BT2 8BP