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News from the Playing Out Movement December 2017

posted this in Playing Out Movement on 15/12/2017

Welcome to the December newsletter – our 6 monthly round-up of exciting news and developments.

Playing Out is supporting a growing number of parents, residents, and local authority officers around the UK who want children to play out and be part of their communities. Together we are part of a wider growing national and international movement for children’s right to freedom. Please join us.

Interest and activity is growing…..


Street play has been big in the media this year. In the summer three reports were published showing why temporary play streets are good for children and communities. National TV, radio and newspapers all covered the story. Watch The One Show here.

Then a BBC World Hacks video went viral, reaching an astonishing 9 million views in 2 weeks! The thousands of ‘likes’ and positive comments show a huge public support for children having more freedom to play out.

Alongside this, more and more street communities are playing out across the UK – nearly 625 now at the last count. Fifty Councils now have a street play policy, with Pembrokeshire, Trafford, N Somerset, Hillingdon, Henley on Thames, NE Lincolnshire and Newcastle all in the pipeline.

Want to change things beyond your street?

Come to our 5th annual Activator Day! On Saturday 24th February, we will host a FREE day of meeting, learning and sharing, to inspire and equip you do so. A delicious lunch is included and we may be able to help with travel to Bristol, so don’t let that be the barrier!

Jane Fahey and Lynsey Nichol from North Tyneside came to our 2017 Activator Day and have now set up a local group to support others:

We want to encourage and enable more local streets to join in and close their streets for a few hours every week. We’re calling ourselves Play.Meet.Street North Tyneside because we really want to emphasise the meeting as well as the playing”.

More details and booking here. Contact [email protected] if you are interested in finding out more about the Activator Day or setting up a local Playing Out group.

The Wider Movement for Children’s Freedom.

Increasingly, Playing Out is speaking out about children’s freedom and right to be in public space. Children themselves have lots to say on this. This year we’ve been working with the amazing Room 13 Hareclive who have produced a funny and hard-hitting short film about road safety and the need for all of us to change things.

Photo credit: Room13 Hareclive

Mia (11) and Freya (11) from Room 13 also spoke alongside us at Bristol’s Festival of the Future City where we co-hosted a session that asked, ‘What Makes a Child Friendly City?

The main conclusions? Firstly, being able to safely play in and move around your city is not a nice ‘extra’: the problem for children’s health and wellbeing is now extremely urgent. Secondly, we already know what’s needed (slower traffic, car-free spaces, good green space, better design and planning…) so it’s not about endless consultation – we just need to get on and do it! And finally, as Gil Penalosa from Bogota and 8 80 Cities said, “it’s not about the money”. It’s simply about looking at everything from a child’s point of view and factoring this in to decisions and planning.

Sam Williams from Arup – another of our great speakers – has just published a book, “Cities Alive, Designing for Urban Childhoods” that we hope will help persuade city leaders to take note.

Blogs You May Have Missed

Road Safety: What Do Children Want?

If fat is a feminist issue, road safety is a children’s rights issue……read more..

child by the sea with arms outstretched
How to keep hold of children’s freedom into the winter months

How can we cling on to some of that summer holiday freedom in the winter months? Or – let’s face it – all year round?…read more

Air Pollution and Street Play

One of the triggers for me to get back into the groove of regular playing out sessions this spring was a phone call from a BBC researcher keen to find out what, if any, difference there might be in air quality during a session…read more..

News from the Team


…has helped form Playing Out’s new board (and welcome to board members: Zoe Banks Gross, Taylor Brown, Antonia Layard, and non-executive member Adrian Voce)

Ingrid Skeels

..led the collaboration between Playing Out and Room 13. This year she got her children through GCSEs and A levels and is continuing to promote her children’s book: “St Cuthbert’s Wild School for Boys.”


…set up playing out with a neighbour and has helped steward four lovely sessions, and one of her two children is now at secondary school


…is now co-ordinating street play in Bristol and both children have now started primary school.

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