Start on your street

Toni in Cardiff

“Children need to feel comfortable in their neighbourhoods and learn from each other, young and old… not cooped up or driven to every park or social gathering”

How would you describe your street ?

We live on a street which has residential housing on both sides and six families with young children. They never used to play outside. Although fairly quiet, several times a day we do get drivers using our road as a quick cut through to access the busier road that we back onto.

How long have you been playing out?

We’ve been running Playing Out sessions for just over a year now.

How did you get started?

After coming across the idea on the web, I contacted Playing Out directly and was also signposted to Play Wales.

Who have been your closest allies?

Marianne Mannello, Assistant Director of Play Wales, has been instrumental in the process. Also the residents on the street without families, who have all been very accepting of the idea.

How did the council respond to the idea?

Marianne has mainly dealt with the council, the paperwork and liaison with Welsh Assembly Members. This has included providing the necessary signage, right down to the hi-vis jackets and chalks!

What has been the biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?

Challenges arose mainly from residents not living on our street, but these have been minimal.

What has been the best thing for you or your street?

The best moments have been seeing the children play together. Children who go to different local schools are also now playing together! In addition, simply getting to know the street and the characters in it, including one couple who we have discovered keeps chickens!

Any favourite moments?

We’ve enjoyed all playing out moments and watching families play in the street has been really great. Adults can play too!

Any tips or advice for others?

Advice would be to keep up momentum and keep neighbours informed. I had a few concerns raised at the very start from residents but these were easily solved and trust was garnered from being open and available.

Where did your motivation come from?

Children need to feel comfortable in their neighbourhoods and learn from each other, young and old. I didn’t want my children being raised solely cooped up in the back garden or driven to every park/ social gathering.

Finally, what do you hope the Playing Out movement will achieve?

I hope Playing Out will provide more children with broader play opportunities to spend more time outside (and not in front of screens) socialising with different age groups and experiencing a richer, more balanced childhood.

Toni and her street are just part of the action taking place around Wales and the UK, led mainly by parents and supported by forward thinking local authorities and community organisations. In Wales, Play Wales is taking a leading role in this work. Read other parent and resident Playing Out stories for more inspiration and advice.

Want to start playing out more and be part of this change? See our four simple steps or check out our other ideas to support children’s freedom.

What can I do?

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