Your how-to guide for starting a Playing Out scheme
On this page you will find all the steps you need to take to start your own Playing Out scheme in St Albans District.
To see an overview of the Playing Out St Albans District project visit our main Playing Out page. For our events, including free information sessions, and application deadlines, please visit our Playing Out Latest News page.
Please note, unfortunately Playing Out schemes are not possible on daily bus routes. The council has the final say on whether a road is suitable for playing out or not.
Steps to Playing Out Applications
Getting your street ready for Playing Out
adapted from www.playingout.net
A. Understand how Playing Out works
- Watch our video below.
- Read the St Albans District Council Guidance for Playing Out.
- Understand how stewarding works and how car access is managed, along with everything else there is to know, by reading the Playing Out Manual. This is the national Playing Out organisers’ definitive guide, produced by www.playingout.net
- Visit www.playingout.net for more information and videos
- Please note: Your street cannot be a 7 day bus route. You can apply for up to 8 closures per year from the date of your first session, maximum 1 per month. Sessions can be between 1 and 3 hours long. Sessions must be in daylight hours – no later than 4pm after the clocks go back in October, November and February and 3.30pm in December and January.
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. Consult everyone on your street via letter drop.
- Write to everyone in the street plus any other parties affected (eg businesses and garage owners). This must be on paper not on WhatsApp or Facebook groups.
- Make sure everyone feels able to feed back their thoughts; perhaps set up a zoom meeting. In non-Covid times, organise a street meeting in person.
- Give them ways to contact you (email/phone) so there is plenty of opportunity for them to reach you to discuss how it works.
- You can download a sample letter from our Useful Docs section below and adapt it. Alternatively, you could invite people to a street meeting – again find a sample letter in our Useful Docs section.
- You might want to attach a map or description of what will be closed or present options for comment.
- If you do have a street meeting, listen to thoughts, make decisions about dates and road closure stretches, collect contact details, share out roles.
- You can then choose the dates and times you are applying for – see Choosing Your Dates section on our Playing Out News page for some advice. Remember max 8 times a year, 3 hours max, daylight hours.
D. Address concerns or objections
- Some standard answers are included in our FAQ – see our Useful Docs section below.
- See also the Playing Out website page: http://playingout.net/why/possible-concerns/
- If you do continue to have one or two objections from neighbours, don’t worry – just contact us for support.
E. Communicate back to the street
- Don’t be put off if you have only a few people responding to your letter. 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.
- The link to submit your Playing Out St Albans District application will be re-activated in Autumn 2023. (Click here for next application deadlines.)
- See Useful Docs section below for sample completed application form.
- You need 1-3 residents to be deputy organisers on the form.
- You need to know the section of road you will close and the diversion needed.
- You need to produce a map to show your closure and diversion. Council map requirements are as follows: “You need to provide (a) map(s) of where you wish to close the road. Where multiple stretches of road are to be closed on different dates you must label them with Section A/B etc either on one map or with one map for each section. Hand-drawn maps are not accepted. You can use an online map system such as Google Maps as a background, clearly marking the closure and diversion. Please check that your map shows street names, has a linking diversion route (unless cul-de-sac closure) and shows the road closure in a different colour from the diversion route. Please use a key to explain any annotations. Please save the file as a PDF.”
- See Useful Docs section below for an example map – it’s not as bad as it sounds!
- You need to know the dates and times you are applying for – see Choosing Your Dates on our Latest News page for some advice.
G. Get ready
- Read the official Playing Out manual
- Carry out a risk assessment – this is not daunting and we have a sample to give you ideas to get you started – (see Useful Docs below). Consider the Covid-safety recommendations of the time.
- 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. Adapt your communication according to the outcomes of your risk assessment.
- Make sure you communicate clearly that parents are responsible for their own children.
- Recruit your neighbours to be stewards (2 per closure point).
- 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.
- Print a photo permission form (see Useful Docs below) if you want to take photos of local kids. We love to receive them so please make sure you have consent.
- Print some Steward Briefing Documents (see Useful Docs below).
- Print a first session evaluation form (see Useful Docs below).
- Charge your mobile phone.
- Watch this great video from Playing Out’s national website about how to open and close your street.
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.
- Ready your road closed 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 and the video mentioned above).
- 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!
- If you can, gather contact details for your neighbours, ask for some comments on the evaluation form and take photos and get permissions for them.
- Re-open the road safely with the stewards (see the Playing Out manual and the video mentioned above). 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 the steps to Playing Out, please do not hesitate to contact the Playing Out St Albans District team.
Playing Out St Albans District aims to be able to lend (without charge) all streets the essential kit to enable them to play out.
Essential kit we aim to provide
- 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
- Pavement chalk
- Long skipping rope
- French skipping elastic
Nice-to-have kit – for you to have if possible
- Tea & biscuits for neighbours (in non-Covid times)
- Soft/sponge ball
- Walkie Talkies (for stewards, if your closed space is particularly long)
Useful Documents for Playing Out St Albans District Applications
(all Word docs are also available in Pages for Mac – please email us if needed)
Please note – Covid-safety is an important consideration when organising your Playing Out session. Where possible, we have updated our sample documents but please do consider Covid-safety when you are making your arrangements.
Below are sample documents to help you with the steps to Playing Out. Please note some of these documents will “download” to your computer when clicked rather than opening in your browser window.
Playing Out St Albans District Sample Street Meeting Invitation (can be adapted for a Zoom meeting)
Playing Out St Albans District Sample Street Consultation Letter (if a street meeting in person or by zoom is not possible)
The link to the Playing Out St Albans District online application form will be reactivated here in Autumn 2023
Sample risk assessment
Please do a risk assessment of your own for your own street and closures. This is an example only.
Sample letter inviting neighbours to join in Playing Out sessions
Download and adapt our template for your street. This will need to reflect much of what has been decided from your risk assessment – it is a key communication to your neighbours as it both informs them but also must make them feel welcome at the sessions.
Sample Stewards Briefing
Don’t forget to include anything identified in your risk assessment
Editable poster to advertise your session to neighbours
Opens the playingout.net useful stuff page. Please note you are not allowed to advertise your session any further than on your own street.
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.