Blog

Home > Blog > Community > Take over your street for play this Thank You Day!

Take over your street for play this Thank You Day!

posted this in Community, Play Streets, Street Space on 29/04/2024

The Together Coalition is all about building a kinder, closer and more connected society. They approached us about getting involved with their Thank You Day campaign this year and their theme ‘Community Takeovers’ instantly got our attention!

Play streets are a very simple way for residents to ‘take over’ their street for a few hours at a time (at the weekend or after school), to make use of the space for play and informal socialising. They are based on the idea that our streets and public spaces belong to the communities who live in them. In particular, children need safe access to the space on their doorsteps so that they can play, socialise and develop independence. This used to be a normal everyday thing, but as traffic volumes have increased, children’s freedom has decreased dramatically. Since the first resident-led play street took place on one street in Bristol, the idea has spread to 100 local authority areas and over 1600 streets across the UK, benefitting tens of thousands of children and adults.

Play streets are for everyone – and they can make your street a kinder place

The joy of play streets is their simplicity and the chance for children to play freely, and children from different families playing together helps knit the adults together too. Everyone benefits if they live on a street or estate where people are able to reclaim the space outside their front door, as the adults come out for a cuppa and chat while keeping an eye on the children.

Play streets (or ‘meet your neighbours’ sessions as some organisers call them) are truly Community Takeovers. They start with conversations between neighbours and are planned, organised and owned by residents who choose when they’re held and what happens during the sessions. If you just want a low-key chat with neighbours over a cup of tea while your kids safely scoot up and down the road together, that’s brilliant. Got a musician or band living on your street who want to perform? Fancy having a BBQ, book or plant swap or Bake Off competition? Go for it! It’s up to you.

Great – how do I play out on my street?

Find out whether you can apply for a regular play street by looking at our map or directory pages. And if you want to organise a play street but your council doesn’t support it yet, you can usually apply to have a street party instead. Most councils allow this, and guidance from central government was sent out to all councils in the run up the Platinum Jubilee to encourage them to make it as easy as possible for residents to temporarily close their streets to traffic and open them up to the community for socialising and fun. So hopefully councils will be helpful, and maybe even flexible about how far in advance you need to apply to close the street to through-traffic. And if you’ve missed the deadline, maybe there’s a local green space that would work?

If you organise a play street/Community Takeover on your street for Thank You Day this year, the least that will happen is that people will have fun on the day. But it could also be the start of something bigger that makes your street feel friendlier, kinder and more connected for years to come.

Want to spread the word about play streets?

Read our Comms pack for info & tips!

Would you like to stay in touch with the latest Playing Out news and blogs?

Sign up to our newsletter