Final piece for London Play Street jigsaw
18 Mar 2014 I London Play
LONDON: Children in every part of London could soon have the freedom to play on the streets where they live thanks to new funding from the Big Lottery.
London Play has won funding from Reaching Communities which will at last enable the charity to provide a truly London-wide play street service, supporting communities across the city wherever there is a desire to open up streets for play. Nearly £350K will see London Play working over the next three years with residents in some of London’s least affluent areas to get children playing on the streets – resulting in healthier, happier children and friendlier, safer communities.
“Londoners want to get more out of their streets than just exhaust fumes and pot holes,” said London Play development manager, Paul Hocker. “Children haven’t changed but the culture around streets has, rendering former social spaces into no-go areas. Children have a right to be an active, visible part of their community. They are natural networkers - turning next door strangers into next door neighbours.”
Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund spokesperson said that the project is "a brilliant idea to encourage families to enjoy safe outdoor activities, get to know their neighbours, and make the most of their local streets.”
London Play has been working hard to promote and support the play street resurgence which has been gathering momentum in the capital over the past few years. However, as a small charity, its capacity to do so has been limited and the focus has been on two projects which it is being funded to deliver. The Heritage Lottery Play Streets Past and Present project is looking at the history of play in six streets in the capital and aiming to revive the culture of play on those streets today. The charity is also supporting the development of play streets in three targeted areas in London as part of a Department of Health sponsored initiative which includes Play England, Playing Out and the University of Bristol.
While these focused projects are proving highly successful, demand from residents and councils for support in developing play streets has not been limited only to these areas. So London Play is thrilled to have funding allowing it to complete the London play street jigsaw – perfectly complementing its existing play street initiatives.
The project will focus on 12 city boroughs where the support is most needed - Haringey, Enfield, Waltham Forest, Lambeth, Southwark, Islington, Lewisham, Camden, Croydon, Newham, Redbridge and Westminster.
The project aims to meet the physical and emotional needs of children and young people by building community spirit, confronting anti-social behaviour, and addressing London’s lack of safe and green play spaces. As parents fear crime and abduction, children are often restricted from being allowed outside to play. This project will develop local play opportunities by establishing street initiatives and providing opportunities for adults and young people to become Play Street Advocates in their communities, gaining skills and work experience while delivering the project in 60 streets.
For the announcement from the Big Lottery click here