A small area, prone to fly-tipping, had been identified by ward councillors as needing some kind of engagement with the residents to see what they felt about it and their immediate neighbourhood.

After some thought, we decided to find out more about ‘Playing Out’ and use this as a way into working with the community. (https://playingout.net/play-streets/).

This national initiative aims to get more children active on their streets with all the various mental and physical health benefits. This seems a great way to begin engaging families in the area. Playing out requires a community to come together and show enough interest to ask their local council permission to close a road for a few hours. This can be a one off or on a regular basis. It would not be an application to close the road entirely, it would just be to have volunteer marshals (who we would organise) to guide cars down the road at walking pace. Whilst the area is free from traffic, kids and families can play on bikes, scooters, footballs, skipping ropes, jumbo chalk etc to ‘play out.’

After 2 leaflet drops in the area, we finally held the session on the afternoon of 30th May (during ½ term holidays). Initially it was very quiet and some of us went knocking on doors again to gain interest while the rest of us started to set up the equipment.

Once we had managed to attract one family, two boys and their mum, it all got very busy and fun after that! We had a full 3 hours of playing out. We had taken along some hula hoops, skipping ropes, bubble wands for the very little ones and some jumbo chalk and it didn’t take long before a couple of boys brought over a football. Everybody had a really great time.We managed to engage fifteen children and nine families from different ethnic backgrounds. The children’s ages ranged from 2 to 12 years. There was a good mix of girls and boys. Out of the families, only two already knew each other and the children did not know each other either but were all very happy to be playing out together.


This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.