MORE than £30,000 is to be spent providing more outdoor play opportunities for children in deprived communities across Ayrshire.

The cash is part of a £550,000 boost for charities across Scotland to expand outdoor play in their areas.

The Scottish Government says its Outdoor Community Play Fund will support children and families throughout the year - including during school holidays.

The Ayrshire cash will all go to the Children 1st charity - with £15,582 to be spent in North Ayrshire and £15,088.50 in South Ayrshire.

Exact details of how the Ayrshire cash will be spent have yet to be revealed.

According to information released by the Scottish Government, none of the money will be spent in East Ayrshire.

A total of 32 charities across Scotland will receive a share of the fund.

Announcing the funding, children’s minister Natalie Don said: “Outdoor play has an incredibly positive impact on our children’s mental health, wellbeing and confidence.

"It can teach them how to solve problems, assess risks, boost their physical activity and provide opportunities to meet and interact with others.

“However, options for children to play safely outdoors can be limited, especially for children in deprived areas.

"At a time when families are struggling with the cost of living crisis, it is even more essential that we provide this vital support to ensure there are outdoor play options available, free of charge, for families across Scotland.

“I am looking forward to seeing how this fund will help grow outdoor community play projects and I am proud that this Scottish Government investment will benefit thousands of children living in our most deprived communities.”

Julia Abel, director of funds at Inspiring Scotland, added: “All children have the right to play – not only is it vital for their mental health and wellbeing, but is also supports children to learn social and emotional skills while boosting their physical activity.

“We want to make outdoor play accessible for all children in Scotland. Last year, the programme expanded to include more sessions for children and families with additional support needs.

“The beauty of outdoor community play is that it’s child-led, enabling children to use their creativity and imagination to develop their own ways to have fun, overcome barriers, while teaching life-enhancing skills that will make positive effects all the way into adulthood.”