London Play is building on the play street revolution - working with residents and schools in 16 boroughs to open their streets for play and see the space outside their front doors with new eyes.
The play street revolution has been building across the capital since 2008 when London Play's first Big Lottery funded Street Party project took root. Now more than two thirds of London's borough councils offer their residents the opportunity to apply to close their streets temporarily but regularly for the purpose of play and socialising with neighbours.
The first London Play Streets project ran for three years from 2014 to 2017 and saw more than 80 new play streets launch across the capital. Now,over £380K from the Big Lottery's Reaching Communities programme will continue the expansion, giving London Play the additional capacity needed to continue target intensive support directly at residents, in some of the capital's least affluent areas and where the benefits will be more keenly felt. Over the course of the project at least 80 new play streets will be implemented across 16 boroughs. Residents, volunteers and other neighbourhood networks will be trained to support the project during and beyond the funded period.
London Play’s Play Street Advocacy Workers Catherine Togut and Fiona Sutherland will identify target neighbourhoods and willing residents within them, and then provide the support, guidance and training needed to enable them to become play street advocates in their own communities. They will gain confidence, skills and experience in the process, going on to inspire and recruit other residents to launch play streets in their areas and multiplying the impact of their work.
The project will focus on 16 London boroughs where the demand for support is greatest - in Year One the focus is on Enfield, Lewisham, Newham and Soutwark.
Other elements of the project include:
- An expanded Play Street of the Year award run alongside the annual London Adventure Play Awards.
- Recruitment of four 'London Play Starters' in each year - predominantly young people they will get paid work experience in play, learning the ropes on adventure playgrounds and in play streets across the capital.
- All new play streets will get a free Play Starter Fun Pack of resources to stimulate play on the street.