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Playing Out in the media

We’ve had lots of great media coverage about the benefits of street play for children and the growth of the playing out movement. Here are some highlights.

Media coverage so far in 2024…

At the end of April, play streets were promoted on BBC Breakfast by Ross Kemp, the celebrity face of 2024’s Thank You Day campaign.

During and after the Parliamentary Inquiry into Children, Young People and the Built Environment that Playing Out helped to bring about, we had lots of opportunities to highlight the reasons that we campaigned for the inquiry to take place, and to make the case for children’s need to play out.

On the day before Playing Out gave evidence to the first hearing of the inquiry in later January, co-founder Alice spoke on BBC Five Live and the issue was also covered on BBC Newsround.  ITV News broadcast a report across several regions to coincide with the second hearing of the Inquiry at the end of February, and following the third and final session in which the Government responded to the evidence, The Guardian published this article summing up why the inquiry was so important and what needs to happen next.

Other media coverage this year includes Co-Founder Ingrid Skeels making the case for children’s freedom in this episode of Growing Up Happy, one of the top ten podcasts for parents, and also for professionals working with children.

Ingrid was also interviewed on the Voice of Islam Radio Breakfast Show speaking about the importance of outdoor play for children – listen from 1hr 14 mins – 1hr 31 mins.

Lesley Flowers, an Area Activator from St Albans, was interviewed on BBC 3 Counties Radio later in February talking about the work that the community organisation Sustainable St Albans do to support play streets in their area, followed by a Councillor from Hertfordshire talking about plans to launch play streets there.

In January The Guardian wrote about why the Inquiry into Children, Young people and the Built Environment being held by the Dept for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was so needed.

Media coverage of Playing Out and play streets in 2023

In October the BBC covered the first play street to be held in Epsom, Surrey – we’re hoping that this is just the start of the growth of play streets across the county.

From September 2023 there’s this really positive story about the campaign to bring play streets to the Highlands of Scotland, and the success of the first play street to happen in Inverness. We’ve also recently been mentioned in coverage celebrating the growth of play streets across Lancashire, following a call from a local Councillor to simplify the application process and promote play streets county-wide.

In early July The Guardian released a short documentary film and an article about play streets and the movement to restore children’s right to play in the spaces where they live:

Screenshot from the Guardian newspaper website showing a child cycling on a residential street under a headline saying 'Kids v cars: the campaign to reclaim children's play space on British streets - video

In April there were two in-depth articles in The Guardian about barriers to children playing out where they live. One focused on how the increase in the volume of traffic has made our streets less safe, and the other on how attitudes to children in public space have become less tolerant.

On a more positive note, there have been several articles in local papers about the launch of play streets in various areas of the UK, including BarnetBlackpool and Bury.

In March Families Magazine published an article introducing the concept of play streets and explaining how to organise them, to their audience of parents in 10 geographical areas around the UK.

Also in March Ingrid, one of our Associate Directors, was featured on Play Scotland‘s Play Well Podcast talking about playing out and playful streets.

Play streets were discussed by London Councillors at a School Streets Conference, and were held up as an example of a ‘light touch’ intervention that can be used to show how more permanent changes to streets can work.

Play streets are regularly promoted online by allies such as Child in the City, for instance in this article from February promoting play streets as an alternative to street parties for large public occasions such as the Platinum Jubilee and the Coronation. They also wrote an article in April promoting the launch of our Professionals Forum.

2022 Media coverage

In July 2022 a news story about play streets and the importance of outdoor play for children, especially post-covid, was broadcast across ten ITV regions. Each regional report features local play streets alongside interviews with Playing Out co-Director Ingrid Skeels and expert Tim Gill.

Our Co-Director Ingrid Skeels was interviewed on the Voice of Islam Breakfast Show talking about the importance of playing out for children’s health, happiness and wellbeing.

In the run-up to the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, Alice and Ingrid were interviewed by Prima Magazine about play streets as a legacy of the Jubilee.

Our Co-Director Alice Ferguson has recently been featured on two podcasts: Placeholder Podcast and From What If to What Next by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network.

Alice was also quoted in this article in the Guardian about play bans for children living in social housing.

2021

2020

2019

  • We were honoured to receive a Special Recognition Award from the Mirror Pride of Sport Awards, in partnership with TSB. You can read a lovely article from the Bristol Post, or watch the highlights here! Skip to 1:14:00 to see us receive our award, surrounded by inspirational members of the sporting community!
  • Dani’s play street in Hull was featured on BBC Newsround, with a great video of kids playing out!
  • We partnered with British Cycling to spread the message of reclaiming streets for the freedom of childhood play – covered in this BBC article. Olympic Cyclist Jason Kenny also spoke with 5Live Breakfast, and there was lots of local media coverage too!
  • Car Free Day attracted lots of attention, with roads closed for play globally and locally.
  • The Department for Transport updated their Guidance, making it easier for residents to apply for road closures for street play. Here are two articles on the success story from the Telegraph and Times & Star, and take a look at the updated government website!
  • Hull Live published this great article on parent and resident activator Emma Sarjo’s play street – read it here!
  • The News Online in Portsmouth published an article and video of the city’s first play street road closure.
  • BBC North West shared a video of Stockport’s first play street.
  • The Guardian published an article about children’s right to play, featuring a case study from Alison Stenning and Playing Out.
  • BBC World Service broadcast a programme with an update on Playing Out’s international links (5 minutes and 6 seconds in).

2018

  • The Conversation published a blog on four ways to improve wellbeing for children, one of which was playing out.
  • Little Oxplorers published a list of websites to get kids exploring the outdoors.
  • Sustrans published a blog on why the freedom of playing out is now a postcode lottery.
  • Parenting blog Motherhood: the real deal posted a blog on how children can play safely on the streets again.
  • Street play in Nottingham was promoted in the West Bridgford Wire
  • Get Surrey and The Guildford Dragon wrote about the first play street in Guildford
  • The Hull Daily Mail published an article about the launch of the street play policy in Hull.
  • The street play trail in LB Redbridge was publicised by the East London and West Essex Guardian.
  • North East Lincolnshire Council’s consultation on street play was publicised in the Lincolnshire Reporter and the Grimsby Telegraph on 19 March and 20 March
  • Alice was interviewed on Radio Liverpool about Playing Out and Liverpool City Council’s pilot project.
  • Liverpool City Council’s pilot street play project and removal of fees for street play and parties was covered in The Guide, Liverpool
  • Street Play and the Mini Holland scheme in Waltham Forest are improving the area according to the Waltham Forest Echo
  • The launch of a new street play policy in Newcastle was covered in the Chronicle Live, the Daily Mail and the Daily Star.
  • Daniella was interviewed on BBC Look North about playing out in Hull, they also made this short film about street play.
  • East London Lines wrote about 2 new school play streets in Hackney, including support from Diane Abbott.
  • Street play was mentioned in this article about snow in Brighton’s Argus
  • A story about a friendly street in Reading who play out appeared in Reader’s Digest
  • We were featured on CBBC Newsround!
  • Playing Out in Abergavenny featured on Wales Today
  • An article was published in the Yorkshire Evening Post
  • Following the ‘viral’ film in November, BBC World Hacks made this follow up film (1.8 million views to date) showing how playing out on her street has helped a girl with autism and severe anxiety.

2017

  • Playing Out in Abergavenny was in the news with an article on BBC News and an article in the South Wales Argus
  • BBC World Hacks made this film about Playing Out – a shorter version on the BBC Facebook page went viral and was viewed 10 million times in 2 weeks.
  • The Huffington Post wrote an article about the Playing Out movement.
  • Interview for BBC Local Radio – broadcast on 17 different stations
  • Blog for European sustainable city programme Urbact 
  • Three reports were published on 31st July, showing the benefits of playing out for children and communities. The story was picked up by over 30 national and regional media outlets, including:
  • The Telegraph
  • BBC Breakfast (no link available)
  • BBC Points West and ITV West
  • Sky News
  • Radio 4’s Today Programme
  • Woman’s Hour with Jess Read interview (University of Bristol researcher)
  • Radio 5 Live.
  • The Times
  • The Sunday Times, including this lovely film.
  • The One Show on 31 August
  • Members of the Playing Out team, supporters and local residents were also interviewed on local radio stations from Scotland to Cornwall! The ones we know about are; Radio Bristol, Radio Oxford,  Radio Sussex, Radio Lancashire, Radio Norfolk, Radio London, Radio Lincolnshire, Radio Devon, Radio Solent, Radio Scotland, Radio Somerset, Radio Derby, Radio Cornwall, Radio Leicester, Radio Stoke,  London radio, Radio Hereford & Worcester, and Radio Shropshire. The story also featured in articles for legal, medical and local government professionals and international blogs, including this great piece by Tim Gill for Child in the City.
  • The Human at Play – programme for Radio 4 about play, and the right to play in our society, featuring Hackney Activator Tim Lineham talking about Playing Out sessions.
  • Apolitical – a site that shares best practice and innovative ideas for public servants – published a piece on street play. The Apolitical website can be found here.
  • A mention of Playing Out in an article in The Guardian by George Monbiot about community initiatives and their role in regenerating culture and participatory politics.
  • Hertfordshire Playing Out supporter Rob Schafer is interviewed by BBC Three Counties Radio about his experiences of street play.
  • Jo Chesterman and Naomi Fuller are interviewed on Bristol’s BCFM radio station on the Community Access show.

2016

  • Bristol activator Kate Staniforth is interviewed on the Backchat programme, broadcast on BCFM radio in Bristol as well as broadcast to Hertfordshire, Reading, Sheffield, Birmingham, Somerset, Devon, Hull, Lincoln and Cumbria.
  • Kate Staniforth and Naomi Fuller were interviewed by Pat Hart on BCfm’s One Love Breakfast show about playing out in Bristol.
  • BBC Radio Sussex did a piece on Lewes District Council’s cabinet making a decision about whether to extend their street play pilot across their area. The piece featured interviews with Worthing and Lewes residents.
  • The Sussex Express covered news from Lewes about a pilot of playing out during the summer months. Residents from the first Lewes playing out street were quoted about how much their first session had brought neighbours together.
  • Naomi Fuller interviewed on a BBC Radio Bristol phone-in programme discussing road safety and school crossing patrols.
  • A news piece in the Edinburgh Reporter about a pilot street play policy launched by Edinburgh City Council allowing residents to apply for street play road closures until October 2016
  • A piece in the Islington Tribune about an after school playing out session at a primary school with quotes from the headteacher about the benefits it brings for the school community.
  • A piece in the Islington Gazette about a play streets session for Thornhill Primary School in north London where the street outside the school was closed to traffic and opened for play.
  • An article in the Chichester Observer reporting on a playing out information sesson held to raise awareness amongst residents about street play.
  • An article in Essential Surrey about the first play street in the London borough of Kingston and the enthusiasm of residents involved in making it happen.
  • The Edinburgh Evening News on the decision by city councillors to stop charging residents for temporary road closures for street play. A victory for residents campaigning to organise playing out road closures regularly and for free.
  • A piece in the Barnet and Potters Bar Times about residents’ plans to organise playing out sessions in their streets. Their efforts are supported by their local councillor,
  • A piece in West Leeds Dispatch about the first street play session on the Broadlea estate in Leeds organised by residents.
  • A news piece in the Edinburgh Evening News on a campaign by residents to get playing out happening in the city without being charged for road closures. The Time also ran a news piece and editorial on this story (link unavailable).
  • Another piece in the Edinburgh Evening News with some nostalgic photos of street play in previous decades when it was a normal scene across the city.
  • A piece on BBC Breakfast about the Child Friendly City initiative and a vision to make Bristol a child friendly city. Playing Out is one of three organisations working to shape this project and the piece included an interview with a Bristol street organiser and footage from a playing out session.
  • A piece on New Zealand’s Radio Live about a campaign in the town of Palmerston on the north island to encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Parent Heather Knox who is behind the ‘Palmy Dirty 30’ campaign gives Playing Out a mention as inspiration behind her efforts.

2015

  • A piece in The Guardian by playing out street organiser Clare Rogers about her role in a campaign to revolutionise cycling in Enfield, north London. She writes about playing out in her street being the starting point for this wider campaign.
  • A piece on STV’s news website about the ongoing campaign of residents in Edinburgh to involve others in street play in Scotland.
  • Playing Out is mentioned in a piece in The Guardian on what makes cities good for children to live in – a measure they dub the ‘popsicle test’.
  • The British Medical Journal publish an opinion piece on changing behaviour to encourage healthy lifestyles with the message that nagging doesn’t work! A mention for Playing Out as a fun way for children to get physical activity.
  • An opinion piece in architecture and design magazine Icon on changing the culture of streets with a mention of Playing Out amongst other ideas to share street space.
  • The Herald Scotland runs a piece on parents calling on Scottish councils to allow residents to apply to open their streets regularly for play. Residents have formed Street Play Glasgow and Playing Oot in Edinburgh to campaign for change.
  • A piece in The Guardian on devolution, elected mayors and a campaign to crowdsource ideas from London residents for the capital’s mayoral candidates. Street play is one of the ideas already submitted and a photo of a playing out session in progress features in the article.
  • Leeds resident, Helen Forman and children in her street talked about playing out and what they enjoy about it on Made in Leeds TV.  Some great younger spokespeople and a TV debut for a very impressive Go-Kart!
  • Ellen Smith from Nottingham PlayWorks is interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham about street play in the city.
  • Leeds resident, Helen Forman, spoke to BBC Radio Leeds about playing out in her street. She talked about how children are learning to negotiate and have fun together through their experiences of playing together in the street.
  • A news piece in the Yorkshire Evening Post encouraging Leeds residents to get involved in street play in their neighbourhoods and raising awareness of support available from Leeds Play Network.
  • Made in Bristol TV featured a news piece about playing out in on a street in Hartcliffe, south Bristol.  Residents joined together to open their street for play supported by Knightstone Housing and us. Also featured in The Bristol Post.
  • A piece about Playing Out on Radio 4’s The World at One as part of their ‘Listeners’ Election series in the run up to the general election. Street organisers, stewards and children shared their views and experiences from streets in Bristol.

2014

  • Follow up to 2011 feature on Radio 4’s PM Programme
  • A piece on Bristol 247 about the Green Capital Strategic Grants awards. Playing Out was one of 32 projects across the city awarded funding for 2015 – Bristol year as European Green Capital.
  • A news piece on Get Reading about Reading council using the Town and Police Clauses Act of 1847 as the legal basis for their play streets policy going forward.
  • A piece in The Bristol Post about the Green Volunteers Awards.  Playing Out won an award in the Sustainable Transport Category and was mentioned with a photo of the team receiving the award (link no longer available).
  • A feature in Around Ealing – the council’s magazine to residents – about street play in the borough.
  • A news article in The Islington Gazette in which a local Green councillor questions whether the council’s play street policy is allowing enough streets in the borough to apply to close to traffic and open for play.
  • Alice Ferguson quoted in a feature in The Guardian about the Making the City Playable conference in Bristol taking place on 10th and 11th September.
  • Interview on BBC Radio Bristol with Naomi Fuller about the benefits of playing outside and what makes a ‘good childhood’.
  • Playing Out was featured on ITV Tonight in a programme broadcast on 7th August called Do You Let Your Kids Play Out? It looked at the issues around parents wanting to protect their children from dangers but equally realising children need a chance for freedom and independence. Parents and children playing out in a Bristol street were interviewed. (Due to royalty issues we are unable to include a link to the full programme)
  • News feature on ITV West telling the story behind the growth of Playing Out in Bristol and showing Bristol’s 50th street to play out under Bristol City Council’s TPSO policy.
  • News piece in Islington Tribune about Labour London mayoral hopeful Christian Wolmar’s support for play streets.
  • Court report in The Bristol Post about a woman who pleaded guilty to careless driving and threatening behaviour during a playing out session in a Bristol street.
  • News piece in The Birmingham Mail about residents in King’s Heath opening up their street for play.
  • News piece in This Is London about playing out starting in two streets in Greenwich – the first in the borough.
  • News piece in the New Addington Advertiser about the launch of a play streets policy by Croydon council.
  • Article in The Guardian Life & Style section on the history of Playing Out and the experiences of residents in Worthing and Leeds.
  • Article in The Chronicle about the first playing out session in Monkseaton, North Tyneside
  • Article on North London online news and features site Kentish Towner about playing out in Camden
  • Interview on BBC Radio Bristol’s John Darvel show with Naomi Fuller and Bristol parent and street organiser Zoe Banks
  • News piece on playing out in Reading in Get Reading online
  • Piece in The Islington Tribune
  • The Islington Gazette
  • 24dash.com (Islington playing out story)
  • Abergavenny Focus
  • Northampton Herald and Post
  • Get Reading
  • Shoreham Herald
  • Shoreham Heraldcomment piece
  • News piece in The Telegraph about the national revival of play streets
  • Piece in The South Wales Argus about playing out in Abergavenny
  • Islington Tribune: Lib Dems call for Islington Council to get kids out on safer streets
  • Haringey online
  • Interview on LBC radio about the benefits of playing out.

2013

2012

2011

2010

  • Piece on Bristol City Council Go Places to Play website

Please note, some older links are no longer available.