Yes Ball Games!Watch our webinar
Yes Ball Games!Watch our webinar
Regardless of where they live, their background or family situation, all children need to play out for their health and wellbeing. However, for parents who are struggling with lack of time or other challenges, taking action can be difficult or impossible. The right kind of support and encouragement is very important. We hope the following will be useful for anyone wanting to support play streets locally.
If you haven’t organised a play street yourself, first watch our four simple steps videos and read our manual for street organisers. It’s essential to understand what the process involves from a resident’s point of view, so you can offer the right kind of support.
If you don’t need to close a road, ignore this bit and jump down to “Who can provide support?”
But if you are working with a community who wants to do a play street involving a legal road closure, this is the first thing to check. Find out what’s happening near you with our Play Streets map.
If your council is not yet supporting play streets, and you need to close a road for your playing out sessions, the first thing to do is get the council on board. Ideally they will implement a play street policy so residents can open their street for play on a regular basis.
Support for residents is best provided by:
It’s really key to go where the energy is and not impose play streets where they are not wanted! But people need to hear about the idea before they can get interested, so promotion is key to growing play streets locally. Read our page about promoting play streets generally.
In communities facing disadvantage, you may need to go the extra mile to reach people.
Here are a few ideas we’ve tried or heard about:
Whilst play streets are ideally ‘resident-led’, a whole range of support is needed depending on people’s needs and circumstances. It’s important to be flexible and responsive and to work alongside residents – to do “with” and not “for” them. To give you an idea of the types of support needed, we have provided a rough overview below.
Level 1: Point and Go!
Some people are really keen and confident. They may already have good local networks, support or ‘social capital’. As long as there is a good council application process, they can just be signposted to our free resources and left to get on with it. These can be the ‘early adopters’ of play streets in an area and help smooth out the process and pave the way for others to follow.
Level 2: A bit of encouragement and support
Others may be keen not have the confidence to go through it all by themselves. Existing play street organisers (perhaps the early adopters in an area) who have energy and time to spare can be brilliant for this light-touch support. Playing Out supports a UK-wide network of local activators they can link up with.
Types of support that can be helpful at this level are:
Level 3: Do it with them (not for them)
Some families face far greater challenges, making it hard to take on anything extra. At this level, you might be putting in quite a bit of extra work to generate resident interest in having a play street. Ideally you will already have built relationships and trust amongst the people you are hoping to get involved. You would be acting as if you were a very encouraging and supportive neighbour on the street itself. The motivation to do it must still be there for the residents, so you’re not delivering it for them, but you are there every step of the way with them. You might do some of the paperwork for them, if form filling or writing is a barrier.
Types of support at this level include:
If you want to support play streets with a community facing disadvantage, download the Toolkit at the bottom of this page, and get in touch as we have a growing ‘Community of Learning’ around this topic.
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