Do you want children to be able to play freely outside their own front door? Playing Out is a parent and resident led movement restoring children’s freedom to play out in the streets and spaces where they live, for their health, happiness and sense of belonging. In Monmouthshire we want to provide as much support as we can to communities to make this happen.

At the Playing Out website you’ll find all you need to start regular ‘playing out’ sessions on your street or other actions to spark change where you live. Also ideas, stories and inspiration gathered from people around the UK and beyond.

If you’re interested in starting playing out where you live in Monmouthshire please email judithlangdon@monmouthshire.gov.uk or phone Jude on 07970 151970

Playing Out in four simple steps

The Playing Out website helpfully sets out how to start playing out in four simple steps.  This is a really good guide to how to get things going where you live.  Below we’ve set out a bit of extra information on how each of these steps works here in Monmouthshire.

Step 1: talk to your neighbours

It’s really important that if you’re planning on closing the road – even for a very short time, that everyone should have the opportunity to comment.  Whilst it isn’t essential to hold an informal meeting, we do need to know that everybody in the street has had the chance to have their say and recommend that you speak to everybody in person if possible.  If this feels a bit daunting don’t worry, there are lots of people who can help; just drop us a line at the email below and we’ll be in touch.

If some of your neighbours don’t agree with the idea that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go ahead.  Most of the concerns that are normally raised can be resolved and are addressed here. If people still aren’t sure let them know that you’ll pass their concerns on when you apply for the road closure and that are also welcome to contact the council directly.

Most people find talking to their neighbours about Playing Out is a really positive experience and a great way to bring the neighbourhood together.

Step 2: get permission and support

Much as we love the idea of giving children the freedom to play out where they live, not every road is suitable (we’re not likely to close the A40 for a game of hopscotch).  When you contact the council we’ll have a conversation with you about whether your road is an appropriate place and will work with you to find the best spot for your session.

We don’t charge to the application process and will aim to keep it as simple as possible.  You’ll need to provide a plan of exactly where you would like the closure to be and will need to allow around six weeks for the application to be processed.

Road closures are a legal process and we need to make sure that everyone involved is kept safe; for this reason we’ll need to make sure that a suitably qualified person is on site to set out and take down the road closure.  Sometimes this could be a person from the council or one of our partners (particularly if you’re giving Playing Out a try for the first time) or we provide free training to community members so that you are able to close the road safely yourself.  Upcoming training courses are usually listed on the Be Community Eventbrite page here.

Step 3: tell everyone and get ready

In Monmouthshire there are lots of things that we can do to help you make your Playing Out session a success.  We have a stock of road closure signage and cones which we can lend to community members and can usually also provide you with suitable high-vis jackets for stewards.  We also keep a supply of simple play equipment like skipping ropes which you’re welcome to borrow.

We also provide free training to community members who would like to put on a playing out session in their street.  This training covers everything you need to know to close the road safely and also some really fun guidance on what great street play looks like and how you can help it to happen. Upcoming street-play training courses are usually listed on the Be Community Eventbrite page here.

It’s really important to be clear with absolutely everyone involved that you’re not hosting a big community event and you’re not providing childcare; you’re simply closing the street to allow the children who live in the immediate area the chance to play out, and parents remain responsible for their children at all times just as they normally would.

Step 4: Make the street safe and play out!

You’ve done all the hard work by this point, so on the day you should be able to enjoy yourself.  The Little Book of Playing Out has some great tips and ideas for games and remember that we can provide training on street-play if you’d like a little more confidence in creating the conditions for everyone to have fun.

Do remember to make sure that parents understand that they remain responsible for their children at all times just as they normally would.  

And it’s not only children who can enjoy the traffic-free street; some streets in Monmouthshire have made cakes and brought flasks of tea and coffee for all the neighbours to enjoy and have a chat.

If you’re interested in starting playing out where you live in Monmouthshire please email judithlangdon@monmouthshire.gov.uk or phone Jude on 07970 151970