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Our expert friends

We’re lucky to have had a lot of support and encouragement in our mission from some fantastic people with a great depth of knowledge in their fields.

As well as all the expertise we have to draw on from people making change happen on their own streets, we now have a semi-formal network of ‘expert friends’ who we can call on for help and advice and who speak up for street play in their own worlds. They are:

Tim Gill, Childhood

Tim Gill aims to expand children’s horizons, to make the case for a balanced approach to child safety, and to reconnect children with the people and places around them. Tim is the author of ‘No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society‘ and Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities

An independent researcher, writer and consultant who has been exploring the topic of children’s play and free time for over 15 years, Tim says: “In all that time, I have not come across an idea with more potential than Playing Out for giving today’s children some of the everyday freedoms and experiences that previous generations of children took for granted, and that are such a vital ingredient of a good enough childhood.” Follow Tim at http://rethinkingchildhood.com/ or https://twitter.com/timrgill

Dulce Pedroso, Active Travel and Equalities

Dulce Pedroso is Head of Communications for the Centre for Disaster Protection and a PhD student focused on displacement, place-making and cycling. She combines 15 years of experience in international development programmes focused on maternal and child health and girls’ education. Dulce rides her bike everywhere and passionately advocates for sustainable, human-friendly cities and occasionally moonlights as a cartoonist. Dulce has also recently supported Playing Out with a review of literature related to race and children’s access to outdoor play near home.

Adrian Voce OBE, Play policy

Adrian is a respected practitioner, writer and advocate for children’s play, playwork, and child-friendly planning. He was Director of Play England from 2006-2011 and has written extensively about the need for policy change to enable children to play as part of their everyday lives. Currently President of the European Network for Child-friendly Cities and Director of his own organisation Playful Planet, Adrian is also Head of Policy and Public affairs at Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Professor Angie Page, Children's Physical Activity

Professor Angie Page is a senior researcher at The University of Bristol whose work focuses on the behaviours linked to childhood obesity and the determinants of children’s physical activity and eating behaviour. Angie is one of the lead investigators on the PEACH project.

Ben Barker, Community Activism

Ben Barker is a well respected local activist in Bristol and on the board of the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership. Ben says: “A key purpose of neighbourhood partnerships in Bristol is to encourage local people to work together.  Apart from its direct health and fun benefits to children, Playing Out is an excellent way for people to meet each other and engage in a shared experience. This can be the start of wider community cooperation.”

Carey Newson, Sustainable Transport

Carey Newson is a writer and researcher, and an associate of the specialist consultancy Transport for Quality of Life. She was formerly Assistant Director at Transport 2000 (now the Campaign for Better Transport) and a trustee of the Women’s Environmental Network. She has worked extensively on programmes to reduce car dependency, including on the school journey, and has a long standing interest in children’s environmental rights. Carey says: “I’m hugely inspired by Playing Out. Their simple but innovative idea has the potential to change the way we think about our homes and streets. All through the last century children have progressively lost out to traffic as residential roads became dominated by cars and parking. Playing Out offers a chance for them to win back some of that vanished outdoor freedom, and for both children and older people to become more visible in the streets where they live.”

Matt Little, Social Enterprise

Matt Little is a social entrepreneur, Director and co-founder of the Real Ideas Organisation CIC. Matt says: “We work with children and young people to make real and positive change happen through social enterprise. I am a passionate supporter of Playing Out. To make change happen in the world we need confident, imaginative and ‘free’ children and young people emerging into adulthood – with their brilliant dreams and ideas intact, and the concrete ability to bring these dreams to life. Free play and agency for children is such a key part of this, and Playing Out generate beautifully simple but innovative and effective ways for this to occur, often in contexts where we might have thought it was impossible. More power to their elbow!”

Sonja Nisson, Content Marketing

Sonja Nisson runs Valuable Content Ltd, a communications consultancy helping businesses to get their web content just right and is giving her time to help Playing Out set up an active online community. Sonja says: “As a mother of two boys living in central Bristol I am right behind the Playing Out message.” Follow Sonja Nisson on Twitter.

Adrian Davis, Health and Transport

Adrian Davis PhD FFPH has focused all of his working years on addressing the impacts of road transport on human health, with a particular focus on physical activity. He has researched the barriers to children’s independent mobility and views this as a key litmus test of a health promoting environment. Adrian has got playing out up and running on his street and says: “I am passionate about these issues and so the ‘arrival’ of Playing Out is a fabulous opportunity to promote health and reclaim public space for us all”.

Kathleen Christie, Social Change Campaigning

Kathleen Christie works on social change campaigns and planning events. She’s passionate about people (and children) power. She is also involved in playing out on her street and says: “Children and play go together like fish and water. When my children get together with their neighbours and play outside, they come alive and so does our street. Playing Out helps neighbours get to know each other and grows communities, creating the potential to shape the areas in which we live.” Follow @kathchristie3 on Twitter.

Mark Letcher, Sustainability

Mark Letcher is Director of Climate Works Ltd, and has worked in the sustainable energy field for more than 17 years. Mark also set up and curated Green Talk 2011, where Alice and Amy gave a short talk about the origins of the Playing Out project.

Sarah Kingswell, Company Development

Sarah’s background is in stage management for national/international theatre, fringe and festivals, and in arts management. In particular, from 2008 -19 she was General Manager at Theatre Bristol, seeing it from its days as a project to an established organisation. Sarah and Playing Out have known each other from the earliest days and Sarah supports us around the recruitment and development of our small company staff team.

Antonia Layard, Law

Antonia Layard is a Professor of Law at the University of Oxford (previously Bristol). She teaches and researches property law and public space and has a particular interest in how we might be able to develop legal concepts of place.

There are so many individuals and organisations doing interesting and important work in the areas of childhood, play, transport, community and shared public space.  See our growing list of research and articles; explore links to other websites and blogs; or look through our collections of interesting books, films and talks.