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  • Writer's pictureTransition Town Ilford

We want Ilford taken over by Play Streets – please apply by 1st May!

Redbridge Council is supporting a fantastic and long overdue movement to give streets over to children.  We question why cars and traffic are able define what we do on our Ilford streets. We say, why not get the children outdoors and off their devices, to play, scoot, ride bikes and run around on the streets, as happened not so very long ago?

It is looking likely that Christchurch, Montreal and Toronto Roads will be joining the scheme in June following a meeting last week attended by Ilford Commonwealth Estate residents Puneet, Bushra and Ros.  They plan to apply by 1st May to be able to start Play Streets in June. But there are 4 different deadlines, so if they miss that they can always start in September.

Transition Ilford is VERY keen to get a very large number of Ilford streets participating.  We see this as a practical way of reclaiming a lost space, bringing people together, raising awareness on the environment and how change happens, and of course creating fitter, happier, more connected children and communities.  Do let us know if you are tempted by this and we can put you in touch with the Council officers and maybe we can help you with it too. 🙂

Here’s some information taken from the Redbridge Council website.

Why run a Play Street?

Play streets is a growing national movement encouraging informal playing out. Some of the benefits include:

  1. improving children’s health and wellbeing

  2. building stronger communities and a sense of belonging

  3. encouraging more active citizens

  4. changing culture around children’s freedom

Play streets have been running successfully in places like Hackney and Bristol and our pilot scheme here in a Redbridge has been a great success. Here is a comment from one organiser in Barkingside:

“In this day and age, we rarely see children playing on the streets, they rarely get out and converse with neighbours. Play streets is a wonderful informal way of allowing this to happen in a safe and manageable way. It was such an enjoyable, multi-cultural and multi-generational event and really helped build a community spirit that we would not have otherwise seen.”

Read more about the benefits of playing out.

Woodlands Road, Ilford

How to start up

Below are the ‘four simple steps’ you can follow to make this happen where you live:

  1. Talk to your neighbours

  2. Get permission and support

  3. Tell everyone

  4. Play out

You will find some fabulous video guides and resources on the Playing Out website including a lively video guide and additional templates you can find at the bottom of this web page.

Auckland Road, Ilford

You will need a bit of time and energy. The whole process, from having the idea to the first session, takes around 2-3 months. But please don’t let that put you off – the work can be shared and much of that time is simply waiting for us to give permission!

Contact your local Neighbourhood Engagement and Education officer if you want an informal chat about it.

Deadlines for applications to Redbridge Council

If you aim to hold your play street from:

  1. 1 March to 31 May onwards the deadline for us to receive the application is 1 February

  2. 1 June to 31 August onwards the deadline for us to receive the application is 1 May

  3. 1 September to 30 November onwards the deadline for us to receive the application is 1 August

  4. 1 December to 28 February onwards the deadline for us to receive the application is 1 November

If your application is approved, you will be able to run your play street sessions for a 12 month period  at the specified time and location :). After this 12 month period your application will be reviewed.

“What is brilliant about this scheme is that is so easy.  Residents do not need to set up things for the children to do or organise food or get loads of equipment like in street parties.  You just close off the street, take out a cuppa and maybe a chair and let the children play. If you are not a child and don’t want to play you can just chat with anyone who is around or maybe read a magazine! The Play Streets don’t need to be for a long time – just an hour or so but they are regular, even if only once a month.  Residents wanting to use their cars or delivery vehicles just need to wait until someone can ‘marshall’ the vehicle at walking pace”. Ros Southern, Transition Ilford

If you would like to organise a street party as a one-off event, it is exactly the same deadlines.


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