Join the pledge! Summer of Play

What does the new ‘rule of six’ mean for play streets?

Support for return to play on the street

Time for a return to play on the street

400,000 sqm of instant play space

 

The London Play is one of many organisations behind the #SummerOfPlay campaign, to give children the space, time, and freedom to play this summer as Covid-19 restrictions are eased. Can your organisation join the pledge?

For more than a year, children across the UK have been forced to spend time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is not surprising that we have seen unprecedented increases in children’s mental health problems and loneliness, alongside reduced physical activity.

In response, child psychologists, paediatricians and educators have independently and urgently called for play to be central to children’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and many others agree. Together we now are calling for everyone to help make this summer a #SummerOfPlay for children across the UK.

“After everything children have been through over the last year, we are calling on organisations to sign the pledge to support children’s play this summer.”

To join the #SummerOfPlay campaign, please take the pledge to enable all children, in all our communities, to have space and time for play this summer by supporting fun, friends, and freedom.

Sign the pledge here

London Play in the news
London Play has joined academics and other play campaigners in calling on the government to support 'a summer of play' to help children recover from the stress of lockdown and a year of Covid upheaval.
London Play in the news
16 MAY 2020: London Play will be bringing joy back to the city streets this summer as part of the Mayor's 'Let's Do London' campaign, to encourage Londoners and visitors back into the capital.
Games
Jump rope with a difference

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP
 

From Monday 14 September, it will be illegal in England, apart from at school or work or under other few exceptions, for someone to meet more than five other people at a time.

The government is due to publish more detail on what those exceptions are over the coming days, and London Play will examine this closely before updating our guidance on what the new laws mean for play streets.

However, as far as we are aware, there is no plan at present to close public playgrounds. Given that in legal terms, play streets are simply temporary playgrounds, London Play’s view is that under the new rules play streets should still be able to proceed, with a few minor adjustments.  Children need to play – now more than ever – and a play street is one of the safer options for them to exercise their right to do so.

As always, it is ultimately up to residents and organisers to decide whether they feel comfortable to proceed with their play street plans; and also bear in mind that the situation is liable to change at short notice. For those that decide to go ahead, we would advise as follows:

• As per our previous guidance, the emphasis should be on creating traffic free streets for play; and not on community gathering.  The sharing of food and drink is discouraged.

• Organisers should ensure that all those participating are aware of the ‘rule of six’ and the potential for fines to be handed to those who do not comply;

• Organisers should also make clear that, as usual, adults on a play street are responsible for themselves and their children.  Therefore they are also responsible for ensuring that they and their children do not gather in groups of more than six while the play street is in session.

To help organisers make clear where the responsibility for complying with government legislation lies, London Play has a produced an adaptable A4 poster which can be laminated and affixed to lamp posts during the play street session or posted through residents’ letterboxes in advance. Download it here.

Play streets taking place over the weekend 12/13 September can proceed under the existing guidelines. We will update our play street guidance once the detail of the new legislation has been published.

The Cabinet Office statement on the new rule of six is here.

London Play’s guidance for post lockdown play streets is here.

London Play Press Releases
07 JULY 2020: Most play street organisers are ready to consider reopening their streets for play - if councils give the green light, according to a survey by London Play.
Play news
Connecting children to public space outdoors had a watershed moment when Richard Louv published his now classic Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. A new handbook on designing public space for children includes a chapter from London Play, on play streets.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP
 

Most play street organisers are ready to consider reopening their streets for play – if councils give the green light, according to a survey by London Play.

LONDON PLAY PRESS RELEASE

Play streets in London have, with a few exceptions, been suspended over the lockdown period. But with public playgrounds coming back into use, children returning to school and other aspects of life returning to some version of normal, London Play is urging councils to support those residents that would like to reopen their streets for play.

There is no shortage of will; some 69 per cent of survey respondents said that they are keen to start or restart play streets as soon as possible, and a significant number had already held some kind of socially distanced meetups with neighbours. When asked what would give them the confidence to resume or start play streets, two thirds agreed that an edict from their local council or the government was key. Agreement from neighbours was unsurprisingly also important and around 60 per cent of respondents said that ideas on how to run socially-distanced play streets would aid their decision.

“If anything, play streets are less risky than public playgrounds when it comes to potential transmission of coronavirus.”

Some councils are already supportive

A few councils are already in favour; Camden and Croydon councils have confirmed to London Play that they are happy to support residents who want to restart play streets, provided they adhere to government guidelines. These two boroughs have also led the way with new resident-led initiatives to aid safe active travel and social distancing on local streets during the Covid-19 crisis. Camden invited residents to nominate streets to become no through roads and has subsequently issued Experimental Traffic Orders for seven schemes to be piloted over the next 18 months. Along with 10 new low traffic streets Croydon has pioneered Exercise Zones, where residents can request daily volunteer-facilitated closures of their streets to allow them to benefit from traffic free environments.

Katie Sansom, an organiser for a play street in Croydon, said she was excited at the prospect of being able to reopen her street for play. “After such a long time without social play with his peers my son is chomping at the bit to get out and about with friends,” she said. “With help from London Play, and anticipated support from Croydon Council over the coming weeks, we are looking forward to consulting again with our neighbours with the intention of creating a fun, outdoor and safe play street environment for all of our avenue’s residents.  The current circumstances have brought us all closer together so it will be great to finally meet some of our new ‘virtual’ friends too.  Go play streets!”

 

Help for organisers to plan with confidence

London Play has issued guidance to help organisers and councils plan post lockdown play streets with confidence.
“It is clear that play streets will not look like they used to for some time,” said London Play deputy director Fiona Sutherland. “But if anything, play streets are less risky than public playgrounds when it comes to potential transmission of coronavirus. They offer a simple way of opening up additional public space for play, literally on people’s doorsteps. We are not advocating public gatherings and organisers should continue to heed government guidance on social distancing.”

A significant minority of survey respondents (24 per cent) said that although they would like to restart their play streets, they felt it was currently too risky to do so. Chief among the concerns were the difficulties of imposing social distancing between children, especially the younger ones.

London Play’s view, supported by an ever-increasing body of evidence, is that the risk of allowing children to play together outdoors is very low, and significantly outweighed by the benefits. Based on such evidence, children in Scotland under the age of 12 are now permitted to play together outside without social distancing and London Play is hopeful that England may soon follow suit.

Our friends at Playing Out have made a very eloquent and comprehensive argument in favour of restarting play streets as we emerge from lockdown. Read it here.

London Play Press Releases
30 June 2020: Hundreds of play streets across the country have been suspended during the coronavirus lockdown. But as playgrounds reopen, London Play believe that now is the time to open up additional public space for children and communities in the form of play streets.
London Play Press Releases
From Monday 14 September, it will be illegal in England, unless at school or work, for someone to meet more than five other people at a time. What does this mean for play streets?

LONDON PLAY STREETS

Visit our dedicated site for inspiration, information and all the resources you need to start your own play street or just find out more.
VISIT LONDON PLAY STREETS
 

London Play is calling on local authorities to restart play streets from July 4th.

LONDON PLAY PRESS RELEASE

Play streets involve residents on a street agreeing to temporarily but regularly close their road to through traffic, so that children can play outside while adult neighbours get to know one another in the safe and clean space.

Hundreds of play streets across the country have been suspended during the coronavirus lockdown. But as the government gives the green light for playgrounds to reopen, London Play believe that now is the appropriate time to open up additional public space for children and communities in the form of play streets.

Play streets will provide thousands of children who have suffered months of isolation with more space and opportunity to play outside. Adult neighbours, including those who are vulnerable, will also have the chance to connect with one another in the street space, or from the safety of their front gardens and doorsteps.

London Play is today writing an open letter to local authorities to outline the case for play streets and give leaders the additional confidence to reactivate them.

Read our open letter here

Download our Risk Benefit Guidance for Post Lockdown Play Streets here.

Play news
Connecting children to public space outdoors had a watershed moment when Richard Louv published his now classic Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. A new handbook on designing public space for children includes a chapter from London Play, on play streets.
Play news
The number of children managing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day drops by 40% as they move through primary school.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP
 

More than four square kilometres of temporary play space was created in an instant last month as Londoners came out to play on their car free streets.

LONDON PLAY PRESS RELEASE

Car Free Day on 22 September saw some 385 residential streets open for play across 26 London boroughs, nearly doubling the target of 200 and demonstrating residents’ real appetite for exploring more creative uses of the space outside their homes. Thousands of Londoners had the chance to experience their streets car free and for some, there will be no turning back (see gallery, left).

Despite weeks of sun giving way to rainy conditions on the day, Londoners were undeterred and determined to make the most of the opportunity to reclaim their streets from cars. On many streets, food was shared; others had smoothie bikes; and one even had a solar-powered cinema. But the common thread everywhere was play. Children, delighted at the chance to occupy usually forbidden space chalked on the road, raced up and down on bikes or scooters; or played make believe with their friends next door. In doing so, they became the catalyst for their parents and carers and other adult neighbours to come together as a community for a few hours.

And what a transformation took place. On one road in Wandsworth, children who had never ridden up their own street on bicycles finally got to do so. In Redbridge, a little boy wrote his name for the first time; in chalk, on his street.

On another street, the ‘grumpiest neighbour on the road’ came out for cake and a chat.

In Enfield, where a school neighbours a care home, elderly residents joined the fun, enjoying the sights and sounds of children playing and chatting with their parents and carers over a cup of tea.

Boroughs where there is no procedure by which residents can normally apply for play streets arguably had the most delighted reactions:

“Best moment [was] when a child shouted: “I’m so happy there’s no traffic!” while cycling down the road. Made my day.” said one organiser from Kensington and Chelsea.

A Wandsworth organiser said: “We had so many nationalities: Portuguese, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Egyptian, Pakistani, French etc and they bought food from their countries to share with their neighbours. All the children used scooters, skateboards, bicycles, go karts etc and they didn’t go on their phones once! Brilliant idea. Neighbours asking when we can do it again.”

Many of the events were ‘one-off’ trial play streets but with over 80 per cent of respondents saying that they are interested in making play on the street a regular feature of life in their neighbourhood, there are positive signs that it will spark longer term change.

If you’ve been inspired and would like to find out how to start your own play street, please get in touch!

Play news
NEWHAM: Almost £1.2m is to be spent upgrading West Ham Park playground and installing a new water play area.
London Play Press Releases
From Monday 14 September, it will be illegal in England, unless at school or work, for someone to meet more than five other people at a time. What does this mean for play streets?

LONDON PLAY STREETS

Visit our dedicated site for inspiration, information and all the resources you need to start your own play street or just find out more.
VISIT LONDON PLAY STREETS