Welcome to the June newsletter. Playing Out is supporting a growing movement of people who want children to play out freely and be part of their communities. We are thrilled that more and more people across the UK are being inspired to create space for children to play and to think differently about children’s freedom.
Opening your street for play is an idea worth spreading. We’re keen to connect people across the UK and further afield so don’t forget that we have a Facebook group where people come together to share experiences and support each other. Check out the map to find people playing out near you to find others near you, or add your own street.
The movement is growing!
501 streets across the UK have now ‘played out’ in over 40 towns and cities. Edinburgh and Cardiff are piloting street play schemes. Whilst in Birmingham Active Streets is going strong, Nottingham has recently launched its scheme and new streets are springing up in Sheffield and Cambridgeshire. Manchester Art Gallery is hosting a photographic exhibition of children playing out by Shirley Baker and promoting playing out. Even further afield, the street play movement has spread to France and Daniella spoke at a national conference in Paris.
This summer Edinburgh City Council has introduced a street play pilot, a first for Scotland. Playing Out Edinburgh has been campaigning for this for a long time, and we wish the pilot every success. Edinburgh Playing Out facebook group is a good place to join the determined group who made it happen.
Cardiff residents and Play Wales are working to get playing out pilots going in Cardiff this summer in diverse communities across the city. Laura, one of the residents writes:
“We live in the beautiful village of Tongwynlais which is on the outskirts of Cardiff. I love the idea of street play, and I have taken the idea to our local village meeting who also loved the idea. I have begun conversations with neighbours and have some volunteers for helping out. We are lucky to live on a cul-de-sac but it is a long road and cars build up a real speed which is why we think closing our street temporarily would be so great. I’m just waiting to get news of the pilot project, working with Play Wales, and fingers crossed it should be in the next couple of weeks’.
Work has started in Liverpool to set up a street play application process. Scott and Louise, social entrepreneurs and their organisation Gizzago are working with the Liverpool Play Action Council and a local Green councillor to put the building blocks in place to enable street play to happen.
“Wake Road in Sheffield had a joyous sunny afternoon in May with more than 30 children and families coming out onto the street, free of cars, to play on their bikes and scooters, draw with street chalk and chase bubbles. One family had made food to share, one mum is now looking at organising another play street to celebrate Eid and another showed her true strength in the final tug of war! The community on the street came out and enjoyed the fun together!”
Kate West – Family Voice Sheffield / Cllr Alison Teal – Green Party
Nottingham City Council are introducing a city-wide temporary play street order process this summer and promoting it throughout their city within their community teams.
Paula de Matos has successfully campaigned to open her street in the village of Impington for play. She managed to get funding from a local community organisation and has galvanised her neighbours to make it happen.
The Active Streets organisation in Birmingham is getting people playing out across the city. Marcus from Active Streets has also been working with Nazan Fennell who has been recognised by RoSPA, an inspirational local, national and international campaigner for road safety. They recently went to RoSPA’s Celebratory Garden Tea Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of their work.
Please see http://spacemaker.club/with-rospa-100-years-on/ for more.
If you are in Manchester, consider visiting the Shirley Baker Exhibition and Manchester Art Gallery. She photographed children playing out during the early 20th century, and their education gallery is going to be promoting Playing Out.
Daniella took part in a French national conference, Rues Pour Tous, organised by Rue de L’avenir. They celebrated a two-year project where councils and community groups across France opened streets for play. She talked about a grassroots, community perspective and swapped notes on their slightly more philosophical approach.
Back in February George Monbiot wrote a Guardian article entitled, “This is how people can truly take back control: from the bottom up” mentioning the playing out model.
In May we were delighted to welcome Rob Hopkins (founder of the Transition Movement) to a playing out street in Bristol, as part of his study on imagination. He wrote a blog, “Traffic just needs to be put in its place and then this can happen” and recorded a podcast about it.
It’s great to see two key figures who advocate social change recognising the impact of street play.
Blogs you might have missed:
Solving the parents’ dilemma: learning to ride a bike. (featuring the amazing Louis).
The inside story of how you get people to set up playing out sessions on their streets: Jo’s blog.
We commissioned architect Helen Forman to write a review of housing development and how it affects children’s ability to play. Designing streets for play – research and observation.