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Playing out close to home

A collaborative project exploring playing out with the Ubele Initiative, an African diaspora led social change organisation.

A group of people sitting around a table discussing a film that they

All children need to be able to play out where they live, for all the important benefits to health and wellbeing. Thanks to further funding support from The Tudor Trust, Playing Out commissioned the Ubele initiative to develop a community engagement project so that we can continue to learn more about children playing out in diverse communities around the UK. And so we can share more voices from the African diaspora community and encourage more parents and residents everywhere to play out.

Ubele – ‘the future’ in Swahili

Playing Out and Ubele are both bottom up, grass roots networks, working towards social change. In that sense, we have common ground and a similar creative approach. Ubele’s mission is to empower Black and Minoritised communities in the UK to act as catalysts for social and economic change. To achieve this, they work with community leaders, groups and organisations to strengthen their sustainability, resilience and voice. Tishauna Mullins explains why work around playing out is important to Ubele:

Tishauna Mullings of the Ubele Initiative

We work with a lot of diasporate populations in the UK, and playing out and play streets are an important way for people to connect with their roots and heritage and to find joy. They are a way to get children and parents outside, interacting with each other. They foster togetherness and a sense of joy. They can also cause people to start to communicate about wider issues in their communities. This is why when Playing Out approached us, we felt it was important to engage communities around this idea.”

Community engagement film in Manchester

Ubele worked with The African Pot project (T.A.P Project) to carry out the community engagement and filming. T.A.P Project is a social inclusion organisation that works with the African diaspora in Central Manchester and beyond.

Together they convened a group of key community representatives from Moss Side, Hulme and Old Trafford and facilitated a brilliant filmed discussion around everything to do with playing out. Deanne is a grandmother and poet; Aaron, Daniel and Melvin are youth workers and educators; Malachi is 16 and a college student; and Angeli is the facilitator who also co-runs T.A.P Project. Behind the camera and helping to direct the discussion is film-maker TJ from Art Officials.

Together pretty much every playing out barrier relevant to children and parents is covered in this discussion: traffic and busy roads, screens, parental fears, culture change, and not knowing our neighbours. And every benefit too: children’s physical health, mental health, creativity, independence, confidence and sense of community and belonging. Watch the full film discussion

Playing out and race

The discussion also covers playing out and race specifically, through sharing lived experience: how overt racism was a barrier to children playing out in previous decades; how this has changed across time and place; how playing out is so valuable because it helps children to build connections and friendships across different races, cultures and backgrounds. Read more in our blog…

Creating space for play

The discussion ends with thoughts around taking action to change things so children can play out: building connections with neighbours, reclaiming safe space for play, and play streets in particular. Watch the main and film and trailers!

Jamaica film – joys and memories of playing out!

A still from the Playing out in Jamaica film

Ubele also commissioned education and play colleagues in Jamaica to make a short film around their positive memories of games and playingout in Jamaica, as a way to further engage Black communities of Caribbean descent in the UK. The film shows how much free play happened without bought things on the island, and how important this play has been for children. Watch the Playing out in Jamaica film

Next Steps…

Ubele and Playing Out will share the film to try and engage new parent, resident and community audiences amongst the African diaspora community in the UK around the importance of playing out for children, and of taking action to make it possible.

Playing Out will be sharing the great words from Deanne, Malachi, Daniel, Melvin and Aaron to speak to parents everywhere who might want their children to play out. If this works, we might want to do more filmed interviews with people around the UK, giving different perspectives and sharing different voices on children, play and community.

T.A.P. Project is interested to start a conversation locally about playing out and social inclusion in Hulme and Moss Side, using the film to kick start things, and to get a play street happening. Watch this space…

Film screenings

The film is available for any community organisation to screen to get discussion going around children and playing out, perhaps as a way in to organising a play street. Please contact us for a chat or if you need any help.

Want to learn more?

Watch the film and trailers!