Coronavirus info

Play Streets & Coronavirus

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Updated: 24th March 2020

We plan to keep updating this page regularly, as a place for sharing information and ideas related to children, play, streets and communities during the coronavirus pandemic. As an organisation, we are of course not in a position to give any public health advice, and it’s hard to keep up with a fast-changing situation. So please adhere to any new directives from government, follow current government guidance to stay at home, keep #2metres apart from others when outside for essential shopping, work or exercise, wash hands and always err on the side of caution.

Play street sessions

Any planned play street sessions must be put on hold for now.

If you have ideas about how to do a different kind of “street play” that does conform to current rules, we’d love to hear about it and will keep sharing ideas here and via our social media channels.

Once things start returning to some kind of normal – hopefully sooner rather than later – play streets and other ways to re-connect physically and be outside will be needed – and we will be here to support that. For now we need to be creative and think of other ways to keep children happy and active, and to connect with neighbours in more distanced/virtual ways.

Outdoor play generally

With schools closed indefinitely and the UK in “lockdown”, parents are faced with the prospect of having children and teenagers at home for a long time. This is going to be a huge challenge, both for parents and for children themselves, who still have a need to play, to be active and to connect in some way with others. Those who have back gardens are incredibly fortunate right now but there are many who don’t.

For now, government guidance is still saying you can take exercise outdoors as a household once a day, but you must stay 2m away from anyone outside your household group. This also applies for children.

Free play at home

Playworkers and others are quickly mobilising to try and offer help and advice for parents on how to enable more free play at home and within social distancing limitations. We will keep adding to these resources as we come across things.

Blog post by Tim Gill (childhood expert) and Penny Wilson (playworker) on supporting play during coronavirus

Another blog on free play tips and ideas from the brilliant Ludicology.

A Facebook group for sharing family lockdown tips and ideas.

Connecting with neighbours at a distance

We will all need ways to connect, stay active and reduce loneliness and boredom and we plan to share any good ideas for how street communities are doing this. Most people will have already seen the film of Italian neighbours singing together from their windows – what would we sing?

This is another wonderful idea from our Facebook group – using semaphore to communicate with neighbours!

Helping each other

Another important thing we can all do is to have a think about how to reach and offer help and support to anyone self-isolating, particularly elderly or vulnerable neighbours, or those at risk of loneliness. Eden Communities and others are promoting a Community Action Response to the crisis, proposing 5 simple actions (see infographic below). A template letter one woman made to put through neighbours’ doors has been widely shared using the hashtag #viralkindness and a website called Covid-19 Mutual Aid lists the rapidly growing number of local support networks so you can find one near you or start and register one.

If your street has played out or had street parties/Big Lunch, you may well know many of your neighbours (see here for newly published research on how play streets build community) and be able to easily identify vulnerable people on your street. If you already have a street Facebook or Whatsapp group, this could be a very useful tool for co-ordinating help and staying in touch. We are already seeing many streets taking action to help each other in this way and will keep sharing stories, ideas and resources as we go along.

Keep safe and let us know if you have any other ideas of how to respond to the situation in a positive way.