The streets are alive with the sound of children

Claudia Draper of Hackney Play Assn at Clissold House for Play Streets report by researcher Tim Gill 270215 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Nicola Butler,  Hackney Play Association director
Nicola Butler, Hackney Play Association director, and, top, colleague Claudia Draper

A PROJECT to get Hackney children playing outside their homes has led to thousands of hours of activity for more than 1,600 youngsters, a report by researcher Tim Gill has found.

The Play Streets idea comes from two parents  in Bristol in the South West, and the first playing-out session was held in June 2009.

Nicola Butler and Claudia Draper of Hackney Play Association said that closing a street to allow children two hours of play in the road helped to make children healthier. It also had the spinoff of getting parents and other residents of these streets to get to know one another.

London Fields resident Allison Vitalis told Loving Dalston how she and some neighbours made it happen in Albion Drive:

“We carried out a consultation last spring, knocking on every door on our street to discuss setting up a residents’ association, collecting contact details of those who wanted to help.

“Then we sent 30 signatures of support to Hackney council to apply to hold a playing-out event.”

The council gave Albion Drive E8 Residents Association permission a few weeks later for a meet-the-neighbours street closure day last summer 2014.

Allison Vitalis at launch of Play Streets report by researcher Tim Gill @ Clissold Hse function 270215 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Bringing community together: Allison Vitalis

Hackney has given the association permits this year 2015 to hold four playing-outs.

Children and adults will be able to socialise in the streets for a few hours.

Vitalis said: “Our first was in November 2014. We served hot chocolate, cakes, home-made candy, marshmallows and toffee apples, and played eat-the-doughnuts-off-a-string.

“The day ended with a spectacular display in my back garden of fireworks donated by a resident.

“Our next playing-out will be on Saturday 28 March 2015 and will have a theme of spring.” Donated seeds would be planted in Albion Road tree beds.

“Playing-out has brought Albion Drive together, creating a better community.

Launch of Play Streets report  by researcher Tim Gill 270215 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Play Streets report: researcher Tim Gill

“It has given us a time to socialise with our neighbours and for our children to make positive relationships in a safe and fun environment.”

David Altheer 080315

* A meeting to discuss a Play Streets/playing-out proposal for Montague Road, Dalston E8, is being held at  Lardo bebè, 158 Sandringham Road, Dalston E8 2HS (020 3021 0747) tomorrow Monday 9 Mar 2015 at 4.15pm. 

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