Through Play Streets, London Play wants to create a society where streets are seen as shared community spaces, in which all users take care of one another. At their heart, are people – both children and adults alike - getting to know one another, with no agenda other than to chat and play. Dating back to the advent of frequent car-use in the 1930s, the concept of Play Streets is to take back the space outside our front doors, and create valuable community spaces for all.
Play Streets began to make their come back in 2008, with the support of London Play. Many began with street parties, which gained additional momentum around the time of the royal wedding in 2011, and have been popping up all over the UK ever since. They involve neighbourhoods coming together, agreeing to close off a residential street temporarily but regularly, and allowing dedicated time for children to occupy and use the space for play. For adults it’s a chance to have a chat and get to know your neighbours.
Despite London’s wonderful diversity, you often find neighbours on the same street living parallel but unconnected lives. Play provides the perfect excuse – and the street a neutral, shared space – for adults and children of all backgrounds to come together, make friends and build stronger community tiesFiona Sutherland, London Play
Play Streets are for everyone, and use play as an excuse to come together. They are accessible neighbourhood events with no barriers to involvement, as they’re literally on your doorstep! They attract people from all backgrounds, as play is a shared universal language. It is supported across the UK, by residents and councils alike.
Of those who have taken part in the project, nearly 100% say their street now feels safer and friendlier. Loneliness and social isolation have decreased, with stories of elderly residents receiving regular support from their neighbours. Children are proven to be more active, and have developed friendships and in-between play dates with others living nearby.
For tools and resources, visit: www.londonplay.org.uk/content/35203/resources/tools/tools_of_the_trade
Examples of people coming together to build better, healthier and happier places for everyone.
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