Have you ever thought back to when you were a kid, and how you would spend your free time playing out in the street, until the streetlights came on, with your friends? Would you let your child do that now?

On average six children are killed or seriously injured every day on Britain’s roads. We now live in a world where traffic takes up most of the road and it’s simply too dangerous for children to play out. That’s why, this Road Safety Week, we’re asking everyone to Step up for Safe Streets and do what they can so that children can play out in their streets every day, free from the threat of traffic. As grown-ups we need to listen to their small but powerful voices, letting us know how to keep them safe.

Back in Bristol in 2008, Playing Out founders, Alice and Amy, had an idea to introduce a new concept that allowed children to play freely in the street close to their home. The first ‘playing out’ session happened in 2009, with over 30 children of all ages all playing together, whilst bringing a sense of community to their street.

Since then, they have been working to develop the scheme, encouraging local councils and communities to get involved and start implementing it in their area.

Street play sessions are great to make some noise in your community and allow children and their families to play and come together without fear of traffic. They highlight the importance of creating a safe, pollution-free space that’s safe and healthy for children to get around in.

Playing Out provide four simple steps to help you set up a street play where you live:

  1. Talk to your neighbours. Find out what concerns the residents of your street have and explain the idea of street play.
  2. Get permission and support. You need to apply to your local council for permission to close the road and ensure you have enough people to steward and support the event. Playing Out have been working with local councils across the country to get them on board, so they may already know about it.
  3. Tell everyone and get ready. Let everyone know the time and date of your session(s) and invite everyone on the street to join.
  4. Make the street safe and play out. Brief your stewards, ensure that the road is closed and safe and let the children make their own fun.

You can find out more via the Playing Out website, or for more inspiration take a look at our Bike Smart launch event with Playing Out from RSW 2018.

Stacey Bristow

Stacey Bristow

Senior community engagement officer, Brake