Could your street open for play?
If you’ve ever wished your street and pavements could be safer spaces for children to play and adults to meet and talk, then Playing Out could help you. Playing Out is a not-for-profit organisation supporting anyone wanting to organise street play in their neighbourhood and offers advice and free materials to guide local residents through the process from initial discussion with neighbours to applying for permission from Bristol City Council and planning the playing out sessions.
St George Neighbourhood Partnership recently awarded a grant from their ‘Well being fund‘ to Playing Out CIC for them to develop their work in the St George area, and help local residents explore the idea of street play.
Nearly 100 streets across Bristol have organised playing out sessions since 2011 when the council allowed residents to apply to use their streets regularly for play. Children in playing out streets are enjoying the chance to play safely and freely, make friends and get to know their neighbourhood better. Adults are benefiting too from the chance to get to know neighbours and build a stronger sense of community on the street.
Ellie Freeman is the Bristol coordinator for playing out and explains what happens on the day. “Streets really come alive on playing out days and children use the space in their own way and choose their games and activities. Children will bring out the things they want to play with and share with each other and sometimes residents will provide some simple things for them like chalks and a skipping rope. There is so much active play – chalking, hopscotch, skipping, scooting and lots of other games. Parents are responsible for their children just like on any other day but have a chance to chat to other adult neighbours and often say this makes their street feel safer and friendlier.”
The funding from St George Neighbourhood Partnership has allowed Playing Out to employ Tamsin and Jacky, two local residents, to encourage more streets to play out. They both have experience of playing out on their own streets in St George and can provide advice and support. Look out for them at Redfest on 1st August, or you can contact them on:
– Tamsin – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07531 751997
– Jacky – email@example.com – 07952 933270
It’s also worth checking out www.playingout.net for lots of useful resources and inspiration.