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Ingrid Skeels

Why play out? Words to inspire from parents and residents

posted this in Children's play, health and wellbeing, Play Streets, Street Space on 10/03/2022

If you’re thinking about organising a play street or playing out session where you live, don’t just take our word that it’s a great thing to do – listen to what all these people have to say.

The quotes below are taken from our 2021 survey in response to the question: what do play streets mean to you?  They come from parents, carers and residents of all ages across the UK who have organised, stewarded or just participated in play streets.

We hope their words inspire you to take action where you live! And we are here to help. Explore the play streets pages on our website, join our national Facebook group, or get in touch if you need help. We have a recorded webinar exploring the process of organising a play street for you to watch. For longer personal accounts of how and why to organise a play street, see our Parent and Resident stories.

Magic and joy

“That moment we put the barriers out, and our busy road fell quiet and the kids stepped out and started to play, it was absolutely magic.” Street organiser, Bristol

“They’ve transformed our street, my and my daughter’s relationship to our street, my understanding of residential streets in general. Sometimes it’s a bit of an effort to get a session set up/started and there might be only a few children and adults around, but each and every time, despite this, something magical always happens – moments of pure joy and happiness, moments of connection.” Parent/carer street organiser, N Tyneside

Safe play and belonging for children

“It’s a nice safe environment where the children can all play together which is not often possible because of the traffic. It means the children are building more friendships and the parents too. It’s just amazing to see everyone come together.” Parent/carer, Leeds

“It’s the opportunity for children to be children and feel they like they belong in their street.  For adults it is an easy afternoon of entertainment and physical activity for the children, plus a chance to catch up.”  Street organiser, St Albans

Growing community for all ages

“Rather than seeing any other house/ person… as a ‘stranger’, my children now know who lives in almost every house on our street and I know that in a crisis they would have so many people they could go to. And even when they are up at the local park, or down the shops, I know there’s likely to be someone around who they recognise – and who keeps an eye on them!” Parent/carer, Birmingham

“[The play street] has welcomed us into the community and we’ve become part of a support group that I’ve only ever witnessed as a military family on a patch.” Parent/carer, Stockport

“It’s really helped us get to know our neighbours and bring us together even though we are all really different.” Parent/carer, Leeds

Changing how we see streets

“They are also a brilliant, positive way to highlight the benefits of streets that are less car-dominated – and they can therefore play a role in working towards low traffic neighbourhoods and making it safer for people to walk and cycle places instead of driving.” Steward / organiser, Kirkcaldy

Playing out on estate

Supporting each other through hard times

“We wouldn’t have known our neighbours during lockdown if it wasn’t for the play street. We talked to each other and helped each other and the kids through it because of play streets.” Street organiser, Bristol

“[During lockdowns] we knew some of the older people who needed or might need extra support because they had come out to playing out sessions. We did (and still do) weekly street Foodbank collections which were delivered to the town central collection point and many of the people who drove the collections to the central town point were people who had participated in playing out sessions and knew the organisers.” Parent/carer street organiser, St Albans

And back to joy…

“I love them. They make me really happy.” Parent/carer, Leeds

‘How I did it’ – by parents and residents.

Read more on how and why parents and residents around the UK got play streets happening where they live over the past 10 years in our Q and A stories:

Emma in Hull on the amazing magic of her play street

Samira in Bristol on how playing out improves life for children and parents in her community

Toni in Cardiff on how children need to feel comfortable in their neighbourhoods

Raquel in Liverpool on wanting her son to have fantastic memories of playing outside like she had

Ellie in Bristol on how play streets have changed her street for good

Holly in Stockport on improving things for the whole community

Rob in Tring on overcoming difficulties and starting with a street party

Huma in Bristol on how her play street brought her ethnically diverse street together, promoting understanding

Lucy in Peckham on organising a play street during Covid

Julia in Cambridgeshire on changing council policy

 

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