About a year ago we came across the concept of play streets, an exciting yet simple initiative allowing kids to ‘play out’ like a lot of us enjoyed doing as children. By temporarily closing residential roads this gives children the chance to play freely and safely on their doorstep and brings communities closer together.
It fits perfectly with the Council’s Building Communities vision; promoting social cohesion, helping people to get to know their neighbours and thus tackling isolation, and creating supportive, resilient communities. As well as looking like a whole lot of fun!
Sessions can be anything from two hours every Friday night to five hours on a Sunday afternoon held monthly, after school or at weekends. Basically it is up to your and your neighbours to decide what you want.
Luckily there is a wonderful group of residents on Tylney Road who have taken the lead on this and have applied for a Let’s Get the Party Started grant and road closure for this Sunday January 25th from 1pm to 3.30pm. This is a bit of a pilot and depending on its success they plan to apply to do it on a more regular basis which requires a consultation.Luckily those who we have spoken too who live around there are keen to get involved so I am hopeful this will be a regular occurrence on Tylney Rd.
Play streets exist across London but this will be the first in Newham, if you would like to see your road turned into a play street we would be more than happy to help with the bits of bureaucracy needed to get a road closure.
Also, London Play has also been incredibly helpful and are more than happy to help you too. London Play is a small charity that strives to get more children in London playing out more often. They have been supporting and promoting the development of play streets in London since 2008. They can go with you to meetings, answer questions, address any doubts, offer helpful advice, supply materials, and, depending on where you are, maybe even help with funding. Just get in touch with Rich, Rich@londonplay.org.uk or myself, firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
If children, families, neighbours had as much right to their roads as cars do that would be pretty exciting, right? So let’s take back ownership of the public space from cars to our young people (and those young at heart!).