'Playing Out' scheme to get St Albans children playing outdoors

PUBLISHED: 12:42 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:42 08 November 2019

The Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district council

The Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district council

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A scheme has been launched to encourage children in St Albans district to play safely outside in their neighbourhood.

The Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district councilThe Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district council

Playing Out St Albans is part of a nationwide campaign to let young people take over traffic-free streets for a few hours.

They can then cycle, scoot, enjoy games and experience how life was for previous generations.

The scheme was established by the environment charity Sustainable St Albans and is supported by St Albans City and District Council.

Applications for street closures for 2020 have opened allowing residents to team up and submit requests for appropriate dates and times.

The Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district councilThe Playing Out event in St Albans last summer. Picture: St Albans district council

The launch of next year's programme follows a highly-successful pilot project last summer when 11 streets trialled the concept.

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Councillor Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for community, leisure and sport, said: "This is an outstanding initiative that has a wide range of fantastic community benefits. It gets people out and about, meeting their neighbours and enjoying themselves.

"I encourage parents who think their children will enjoy the experience to consider making an application for their street."

Lesley Flowers, a trustee of Sustainable St Albans, said: "Playing Out is a simple idea and a fabulous way of strengthening our communities. It encourages health, happiness and a sense of belonging.

"[It's] an inspiring grassroots movement that makes streets more child-friendly and it's great that St Albans is joining in."

To take advantage of the free scheme, residents must organise a street meeting, enlist neighbours to volunteer as stewards and submit an application online at http://sustainablestalbans.org/playingout.

Co-ordinators can then loan a kit bag containing road closure signs and Hi-Viz jackets.

Allowances will be made for residents who need to access their vehicle in a closed area. A steward will accompany them to their car and ensure children are out harm's way before they drive off.

Information sessions will take place at the Harpenden Arms, The High Street, Harpenden, on Monday, November 11 at 10.30am, and the Beech House, St Peter's Street, St Albans, on Friday, November 15 at 10.30am.

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