In Wales, and across the UK, there are a number of projects and initiatives that are making streets and communities play friendlier places for children and young people.
DIY Streets Projects
DIY Streets is a Sustrans project that brings communities together to help redesign local streets, putting people at their heart and making them safer and more attractive places to live. It's an affordable, community-led alternative to the home zones design concept.
Home Zones are residential streets in which the road space is shared between drivers of motor vehicles and other road users, with the wider needs of residents (including people who walk and cycle, and children) in mind. The aim is to change the way that streets are used and to improve the quality of life in residential streets by making them places for people, not just for traffic.
The Playing Out model
The Playing Out project was established by Bristol neighbours Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose who began by just facilitating Playing Out sessions in their own street. Playing Out is now a community interest company. Their vision is that children across the UK are able to play safely on the streets where they live.
A playing out event is an after-school street play event led by neighbours for neighbours and only publicised within the immediate streets. It is timed to coincide with children’s journeys home from school, usually 3:30-5:30pm. A residential road is closed to traffic to ensure safety and freedom of movement for participants, with volunteer stewards at each road closure point to redirect traffic and give parents peace of mind.
Parents and carers are responsible for their own children. The emphasis is on free, unstructured play and people usually bring out their own toys such as skipping ropes, bikes and scooters. Children are simply given the space and permission to play in the street, whilst adults have the opportunity to meet and get to know their neighbours better and experience a car-free street.
This model was designed to raise awareness and generate support and interest for street play in areas where is has receded or disappeared. It is intended as a jump-start to restore street play as a normal and healthy part of everyday life in our cities.
The short clip can be used to canvas support for street closures to support children’s play opportunities as well as contributing to alleviating anxieties and possible challenges locally.
Making community streets events more playful
Play Wales has produced an information sheet that aims to support communities to make their local street events more playful.