Taking over Kings Heath streets for play!
If you are familiar with Kings Heath then you will probably have heard about the annual Playing Out street closures which have taken place as part of National Play Day across the area which are all resident led events to create safe, traffic free environments close to home which encourage free, independent and unstructured street play. The events have been increasing in size and popularity every year since the Kings Heath and Moseley Playing Out group formed in 2013. Last year saw the number of closures double from 3 to 6 streets in 2014 with more people keen to transform the streets where they live. We are hoping that this year will be even bigger with more children taking over Kings Heath streets to play out!
In the past, the Kings Heath closures have been over one day but the most common feedback from people has been that they would like to see these closures happen more often than just once a year so that children have a chance to play out more regularly in traffic free space close to home. For example with after school sessions or weekly events through school holidays.
This year the Playing Out Group are supporting resident led closures between 1st of June and 9th August to encourage more regular closures. This means there is more flexibility for residents to run the closures on different dates so there are streets closed at different times for people to go to rather than them all being on one day once a year. Most importantly, it gives children much more regular opportunities to play out!
If you are new to this concept, the Playing Out initiative originated in Bristol where a group of parents felt that there were very few opportunities for their children to enjoy the benefits of playing out freely in their street as they had done when they were young, due to things like busy roads and high volumes of traffic. They pioneered a new approach with temporary street orders which enabled them to close their streets to traffic to allow children to play out near where they live which grew and grew in popularity.
Their aim is “to work with local communities and partners to activate a culture of informal street play, where it is accepted that children belong in streets and where the different needs of street users can be accommodated” You can read all about it on their website: http://playingout.net/
Last year Sustrans led on the closure on Valentine Road, here’s a snapshot of the day which was taken by our volunteer film maker Luke. There was road painting, sensory play, road chalking, street games and lots of children having fun, it was a great way for people to come together and enjoy the streets where they live in a completely different way. http://youtu.be/W8U6oSa078o
If you are interested in another closure on your street this year or if you would like your street to be included in the closures between the 1st June and 9th August in order to do this you’ll need to send an expression of interest by 8th May to email@example.com including the following information:
- The road you are planning to close (and description of which part, if appropriate)
- The date(s) and times you are proposing to close the street
- The street coordinator (a named contact)
- Contact details of the street coordinator, ideally including a mobile number and email, to share with other street organisers
- Any special requirements (i.e. negotiate bus diversion, unusual activities planned, specific instructions for road block etc.)
More information about organising a street closure can be found on: http://www.khcse.org/getting-organised/ including key contacts and ways to consult people in your street about any planned closures.
If you haven’t been involved previously, it’s remarkably easy to organise your playing out street closures and there is plenty of friendly support and advice on hand through the Moseley and Kings Heath Playing Out Group! You can join their google group firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KHMPlayingOut?fref=ts for updates.