“Playing Out” is all about regularly opening streets for a couple of hours of play and socialising, giving safety and freedom of movement to young and old alike, with volunteer stewards at each road closure point to redirect traffic and allow emergency access. The emphasis is on free, unstructured play and people usually bring their own toys. Children are simply given the space and permission to play in the street, often around the time children are coming home from school, whilst adults have the chance to meet and get to know their neighbours better and experience a traffic-free street.
In Birmingham the City Council offers support for Streets to ‘Play out’, including some support providing ‘Activators’ and a limited amount of equipment to run activities. Find out more about Active Streets and opening your road in Birmingham for play.
Since 2013 we’ve worked with residents of Kings Heath and Moseley, Dens of Equality, Birmingham Play Care Network, other local organisations and Birmingham City Council to facilitate events with the ambition of making Playing Out a normal part of life in Birmingham. We also commissioned a film about Playing Out, which we took to Birmingham City Council’s Child Obesity subgroup meeting led to street play being incorporated into the Council’s health policy across Birmingham.
Playing Out as a movement began in Bristol in 2007, where a small group of residents, frustrated at the lack of freedom to play out for their children, mainly because of traffic, applied for a ‘street party’ road closure simply to allow street play. They then helped residents on other streets to do the same. This led to the city council introducing Temporary Play Street Orders in 2012, to make it easier for residents to open roads for play. There’s lots of useful information and resources available from the Playing Out website, set up by the Bristol group.
Find out more about opening your road in Birmingham for play.