Residents in Wolverhampton are being invited to make the long school holidays a Summer of Play by teaming up with friends, family and neighbours to organise Playing Out activities.
Playing Out is a movement established by two parents from Bristol who were concerned about the lack of opportunities for their children to play out safely with friends. They developed a model whereby a residential street could be closed to traffic for a few hours so that children in the neighbourhood could safely play out together.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The benefits of playing outside for children are well known, giving them the chance to enjoy valuable physical exercise, make friends, learn new skills and gain independence.
“Thanks to the Playing Out initiative, we hope to give more children in Wolverhampton the opportunity to do this more safely, easily and closer to home.
“But it’s not just good for children. This initative can bring whole communities together as they team up to organise Playing Out activities and socialise with one another.”
Playing Out was first trialled in Wolverhampton in May 2019, when Great Hampton Street in Whitmore Reans became the first road in the city to close for an afternoon during the half-term holidays to enable children and young people to play out in the street.
To run a Playing Out activity, residents must apply to the council for a temporary street closure, lasting for between one and three hours. Applying online is quick and easy.
Applicants will need to give the council at least eight weeks’ notice. Therefore, the council is encouraging anyone who wants to close their street for a Playing Out activity to look to do so towards the end of the summer holidays – and, in the meantime, to organise social activities in local parks and green spaces during the first few weeks of the school break.
People interested in running a Playing Out event on their street, but who aren’t sure where to start, are invited to contact Wolverhampton For Everyone via email@example.com for help and advice. There is also a free pack available providing ideas and inspiration.
Playing Out forms a key part of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Yo! Summer Festival, which will offer hundreds of events across the city, many free of charge, to keep children, young people and their families active and entertained throughout the school holidays.
Councillor Momenabadi added: “We want to make this summer the best it can possibly be for our city’s children and young people, and organising a Playing Out activity in one of our parks and green spaces, or in your street or cul-de-sac, is a great way of bringing everyone together.”
Wolverhampton for Everyone is a collective of people and organisations who want to create a people-powered city where everyone feels able to participate in creating the place they want to live and work in. To find out more about, please visit wolverhamptonforeveryone.org