Playing Out

Playing Out 

Would you like to see your kids playing outside your own house? Would you like to meet neighbours and build support networks in your community?

Playing Out St Albans District (a Sustainable St Albans project) is delighted to be working with St Albans District Council to manage a new Playing Out scheme in the St Albans District.  

Applications are now open for the 2020 scheme. If you would be interested in closing your street for the purposes of children’s play and community building in 2020, please follow our Steps to Playing Out below.

Page Contents – scroll down for….

Latest News
     Events
     Application Deadlines
     Choosing your 2020 Dates
     Contacting us
What is Playing Out?
Can I organise Playing Out / Play Streets sessions on my road in St Albans, Harpenden and the villages?
Steps to Playing Out
Kit for Playing Out
Useful Docs for Playing Out St Albans District
Sign up to our Mailing List
How about a street party instead?

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Latest News

Events

Twitter Playing Out Information SessionWe will be holding two informal and free information sessions as follows:

Harpenden: Monday 11th November, 10.30am, at The Harpenden Arms pub
St Albans: Friday 15th November, 10.30am, at The Beech House pub.

More information sessions will be held in 2020. Dates TBC. Sign up to our mailing list to be notified.

Application Deadlines 2020

Deadline for playing out sessions from March 2020 onwards: 6th January 2020

There will be three further opportunities to apply in 2020 – the deadlines will be approximately as follows. Sign up to our mailing list to be notified.

Deadline early March 2020: allowing playing out sessions from May 2020 onwards
Deadline early May 2020: allowing playing out sessions from July 2020 onwards
Deadline early July 2020: allowing playing out sessions from September 2020 onwards

Remember you must consult the other residents on your street – including holding a street meeting – so please give yourself plenty of time to do that before the application deadline.

Choosing your 2020 dates

In St Albans District, you may close your road for Playing Out up to 8 times a year for up to 3 hours each time.  You do not have to apply for a year’s worth of dates at once but, to save your time and ours, we do recommend you apply for multiple dates. It takes approximately 8 weeks to turn around the applications so earliest playing out dates should always be two months after the application deadline.

Don’t forget to check festivals (eg Easter), celebrations (Mothers’/Fathers’ Day), bank holidays, local school holidays and local community events (esp school fairs and town carnivals) when choosing your dates. You want the maximum number of people to be able to attend.

Interesting national dates include:

National Play Day: Wednesday 5th August
World Car Free Day 2020: 22nd September – nearest Sunday 20th September
Silver Sunday (Celebrating Older People): 4th October

Remember, you can also apply for a street party through Herts County Council on top of your 8 closures per year for Playing Out. So in total you can close your road 9 times. We recommend you continue to use the Herts County Council system for street party applications. See local group Our Street Party and Herts County Council website for more information.

Street party dates of interest in 2020 include:

VE Day 75 celebrations: 8-10 May
Big Lunch 6-7 June
Great Get Together 19-21 June

Contacting Us at Playing Out St Albans District

Contact the Playing Out St Albans District team by email
Sign up to our mailing list
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Join the Playing Out St Albans Facebook Group and the National Playing Out Facebook Group for peer support


What is PLAYING OUT ?

 

 

Playing Out is where residents choose to apply to close their road to through traffic to allow the children to come out onto the street and cycle, scoot and play together in the road. It is a fabulous way to build communities, offering neighbours a chance to build support networks and children the opportunity to get fresh air and exercise, as well as learn to play in an unstructured manner with other children of all ages.

Road closures for Playing Out purposes have what they call a “permeable barrier”. Closure points are stewarded by volunteer residents in high viz jackets. Their job is to escort any resident vehicles into the closed area if they need access to minimise neighbour inconvenience. All through traffic is diverted. So if you live in the closed area and you need to go out or come in with your car, you absolutely can.

In St Albans District, you may close your road in this way up to 8 times a year for 3 hours each time. There is no charge to residents.

See our short film – it’s only 3 minutes long!


Can I organise Playing Out / Play Streets sessions on my road in St Albans, Harpenden and the villages?

Yes, provided your road is not a bus route. Follow our Steps to Playing Out below. The next application deadlines are shown in our Application Deadlines section.

You must live in the St Albans District Area – that is you must be in St Albans, Harpenden, Wheathampstead, Redbourn or Sandridge. Your local District Council must be St Albans City and District Council. Not sure? Use this link to find your local council – it should say Hertfordshire County Council and St Albans City & District Council. 

You must consult the other residents on your street – including holding a street meeting – so please give yourself plenty of time to do that before the application deadline.

We can help you with everything you need to do. Any questions, just contact the Playing Out St Albans District team.


Steps to Playing Out Applications
Getting your street ready for Playing Out 

adapted from www.playingout.net

A. Understand how Playing Out works

B. Informally chat to neighbours. 

  • Get the idea out there, explain to people how it works. 
  • Try to get a small project team of neighbours working together,
  • Gather opinions about the stretch to be closed and when to do it (e.g. 2 hours one Sunday afternoon a month).

C. Organise a street meeting via letter drop. 

  • Invite everyone in the street plus any other parties affected (eg businesses and garage owners)
  • Make sure everyone feels welcome. 
  • Give them ways to contact you (email/phone) so there is plenty of opportunity for those not able to attend to reach you to discuss how it works. 
  • You can download a sample meeting invitation from our Useful Docs section below.
  • Attaching a map or description of what will be closed is helpful or you can present options for discussion at the meeting. 
  • At the meeting, talk it through, listen to thoughts, make decisions about dates and road closure stretches, collect contact details, share out roles.

D. Address concerns or objections

E. Communicate back to the street

  • Don’t be put off if you have only a few people responding to your invitation or attending the meeting. As long as everyone is informed and no-one has any objections, you can count that as a big win!
  • If you have had no objections, communicate back to the street what was decided and that you will be applying or have applied.  

F. Apply! 

G. Get ready

  • Read the official Playing Out manual
  • Carry out a risk assessment – this is not daunting and we have a template to give you ideas – (see Useful Docs below). 
  • Sort out your kit (see Kit below).
  • Put up your formal closure notice (TPSO) two weeks before you play out.
  • Plan the location of your Road Ahead Closed signs (if using them); ask to borrow wheelie bins if needed for hanging signs on.
  • Let your street know the dates and times of the sessions (but do not publicise more widely than on your street). We have a sample letter in Useful Docs below.
  • A few days before, windscreen flyers can be good for cars in the closed area. See Useful Docs below.
  • You can also put up posters in your street only. This www.playingout.net page has a very useful editable poster for windows and lamp posts.
  • Recruit your neighbours to be stewards (2 per closure point).
  • Print a photo permission form (see Useful Docs below) if you want to take photos of local kids. We love to receive them but please make sure you have consent.
  • Print some Steward Briefing Documents (see Useful Docs below).
  • Charge your mobile phone.

H. Play Out!

  • Brief your stewards – this is a really important bit so, even if they are your friends and you feel a bit silly, do make it as formal as you can to get the message across. There are also sections on dealing with cars, etc in the Playing Out manual.
  • Put up your signs and ensure stewards have their high viz jackets.
  • Make sure stewards have your phone number.
  • Close the road safely with the stewards (see the Playing Out manual).
  • There is lots of advice in the Playing Out manual about how to manage the session so have a good read!
  • Have fun, smile lots, be welcoming and be proud of yourself for what you have achieved for your community!
  • Gather contact details for your neighbours.
  • Re-open the road safely with the stewards (see the Playing Out manual). Make sure everyone, especially children, are clear that all is going back to ‘normal’.
  • Let us know how you got on – we’d love to hear from you!

If you need any help with any of this, please do not hesitate to contact the Playing Out St Albans District team.


Kit for Playing Out

 

Playing Out St Albans District aims to be able to lend (without charge) all streets the essential kit to enable them to play out. Here is a list of what you will need – if you cannot assemble the kit yourself please contact the Playing Out St Albans District team and we will help you.

Essential kit

  • Road Closed sign – 1 per closure point (don’t forget any side streets or lanes)
  • Road Ahead Closed signs – if deemed necessary, particularly if your street is off a main road or drivers will be required to turn around at the closure point
  • High Viz jackets – 1 per steward, 2 stewards per closure point
  • A few Playing Out leaflets for curious passers-by
  • Whistle

Nice-to-have kit

  • Pavement chalk
  • Long skipping rope
  • French skipping elastic
  • Tea & biscuits for neighbours
  • Soft/sponge ball
  • Umbrella

Useful Docs for Playing Out St Albans District Applications
(all Word docs are also available in Pages for Mac – please email us if needed)

St Albans District Council Guidance for Playing Out

Full Playing Out manual (from the national body at www.playingout.net)

Playing Out St Albans District FAQ for the public

Playing Out St Albans District Sample Street Meeting Invitation

Playing Out St Albans District Sample Application Map
Notes: You will need to provide a map of the section of road you wish to close. Please check that your map shows street names, shows closure points, shows a linking diversion route and shows the road closure in a different colour to the diversion route. Google Maps or similar online maps work well as a background. Hand drawn maps of the street cannot be accepted. Please save and submit your map in PDF format.

Sample Risk Assessment
Please do a risk assessment of your own for your own street and closures. This is an example only.

Sample letter advising dates to neighbours

Sample Stewards Briefing

Sample Windscreen Flyer

Photo Permission form
If you wish to take photos of your session and send them to us we would love that! Please make sure you have consent for everyone before you do, including written consent for children.


Sign up to our mailing list

To hear all the latest news about the Playing Out project and street party news, including deadlines for applications and information session dates, please sign up to our newsletter.

Click here to sign up to the Playing Out St Albans District and Our Street Party newsletter


How about a Street Party instead?

Many people start off with a one-off street party to see how it goes. If this appeals to you, Our Street Party can provide you with a free information pack to help you. See our sister website www.ourstreetparty.org for information about having a street party in St Albans District or email Nicola at Our Street Party.