Joint Use Agreements

Allowing children and families to use school facilities, such as gyms, playgrounds, sports fields, and courts, outside of normal school hours can be a cost-effective way to promote physical activity. This is especially true in lower-income communities and communities of color that often lack recreational resources.

Legal contracts, commonly referred to as joint use agreements, can set the terms for sharing public property or facilities. For example, a joint use agreement may allow community members to use school fields for free when school is not in session, or permit a school to use recreational facilities at a local park. Joint use agreements also can address concerns about liability, costs, staffing, and maintenance, which often keep schools from sharing their facilities.

RWJF grantees and partners are seeking solutions that will help more schools and communities share their existing resources to help children and families be more active.

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Promoting Physical Activity Through the Shared Use of School and Community Recreational Resources

Children are more likely to be active when schools share their recreational facilities with the community outside of school hours, according to a research brief produced by Active Living Research.

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Joint Use Agreements: Creating Opportunities for Physical Activity

A research brief by Bridging the Gap finds that most school districts have joint use agreements, but they often are vague and do not define which facilities may be used, by whom or when. The brief describes strategies for strengthening the agreements to ensure that they allow community members easy access to school recreational facilities outside of school hours.

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Playing Smart: A National Joint Use Toolkit

The National Policy & Legal Analysis Network (NPLAN) has a variety of resources to help promote joint use agreements in communities across the country, including a short video  that shows how your community can maximize its resources for active play.

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Kids likelier active when schools share rec. facilities w/community outside school hours (via @AL_Research)