Updated 7 April 2021
Play streets are a really positive, low cost, resident-led activity which enable safe, socially-distanced physical activity and neighbourly connection. After this most challenging year, what better way to emerge, heal and re-connect? Research presented to SAGE in November recommends the temporary pedestrianisation of streets as a safe, equitable alternative to cramped indoor socialising.
See here for updates on what each nation’s rules mean for outdoor play in general.
Read more below on what Covid means for play streets. Click on the links below to jump to a topic.
It is ultimately a judgment for each area to make, as play streets don’t always fit neatly into the guidance. The new road map states that from 17 May the rule of six will be dropped and gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors can take place. It’s important to recognise that a play street is not an organised public event or even really a ‘gathering’ – it is simply a way for neighbours to make use of the public space on their doorstep.
Some areas may wish to start earlier than 17 May, as from 12 April outdoor events are allowed with covid-secure precautions and a relevant risk assessment. See our guidance on running a covid-secure play street.
Of course, there’s no doubt as things stand that play streets can happen from 21 June.
Whether you are resident, activist, council officer or community worker, one – two months is a very good amount of time to start preparing for a summer of play! Read on to find out how.
Temporary Play Streets are short, resident-led road closures on quiet residential streets that open up extra outdoor public space for neighbours to use responsibly and safely. There are many good reasons to think about play streets as part of healing and emerging from the impact of Covid and lockdown:
As many people are feeding back to us:
“Play streets could be a wonderful way both to mark more freedom and to hang on to some of the good things that have been part of this challenging time. And, in fact, to build on these.”
With the new road map making it clear that play streets can happen this summer, many councils are now getting a policy in place or thinking about how to make it easier for residents to apply. From 17 May the rule of 6 will be dropped outside and up to 30 people can meet outdoors.
At Playing Out, we have over 10 years of experience in supporting residents to open up their street space, and supporting councils across the UK to get good policies in place that allow parents and residents to self-organise. We can help you!
If you work in a council:
If you are a parent/resident:
Some streets and councils started or re-launched play streets over summer 2020, to great benefit:
“We live on such a rat run, it was amazing the difference it made. Very, very heart-warming.”