Monthly Archives: June 2015

Playing Out

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.

belfry1St 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.

belfry2Ellie 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 – – 07531 751997
–   Jacky – – 07952 933270

It’s also worth checking out for lots of useful resources and inspiration.


Playing Out logo


Changing Church Road

If you use Church Road regularly you may have noticed a few changes appearing over recent months. This is thanks to the work of local volunteers who are part of Church Road Town Team, a small group which is dedicated to making the high street a destination. We met three members of the team to find out more.

Simon Webb is a resident and local business owner and has been involved in community action around Church Road for a number of years, since starting Redfest in 2008. “When we set up our business here we could see the potential of the street and that with some small changes it could be a much nicer environment for residents and shoppers. We applied to the Mary Portas pilot scheme, came up with ideas and were rewarded with an ‘our town first’ grant which we used to paint tired looking shop fronts and create a successful Christmas event. We want to show others that together we can make a difference to Church Road.”

Redfield resident June Barclay was already involved in community action. “I am part of Church Road Action Group which focuses on working with the police and council to improve the environment. From that I got involved in the town team as I liked the sound of the projects. My partner and I used to run a business on Church Road as well.”

The team took part in a national research project – High Street 2020 – which looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the road and identified challenges around the busy traffic and lack of social space to congregate, as well as limited night time economy.

“We need more places for people to linger. We also want to promote the identity and character of the place with better signage and a website. This work is as much about building community as supporting businesses” says Simon.

Maxine and Nigel Williams got involved after meeting the Town Team at a High Street 2020 meeting. “A high street is the heart of a place. It’s you bump into your neighbours and feel more connected to where you live. It’s important to amplify that” explains Nigel. So far the team has raised funds for new street trees and benches in Church Road as well as improving unloved small green areas through its ‘pocket spaces’ project. They have also hosted the family friendly Merry Little Church Road Christmas which included street theatre, an interactive toy hunt, music and a winter lantern parade which they plan to repeat this year.

The team is now looking at other town teams around the UK, and what they can learn from them. “Right now we’re focusing to make things happen, any help from other business owners and residents is always welcome!” adds Simon.

Church Road Town Team meets monthly. If you’ve got ideas or energy for helping make projects happen on Church Road contact Simon on 07815 719403 or visit

This article was first published in the Summer 2015 edition of ‘Up Our Street’ published by Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Management. The current and previous editions can be read at