In 2009, frustrated by their children’s lack of freedom and rights to the space outside their own front door, Alice and her neighbour Amy Rose came up with the idea of temporarily transforming their Bristol street into a safe shared space where children could play out freely together, simply by closing the road to through-traffic for a short time after school. This resident-led ‘temporary play street’ model was intended as an interim solution and a way to rebuild the conditions needed for street play, or ‘playing out’, to be a normal part of children’s everyday lives.
Alice is now co-Director of Playing Out, a tiny grassroots organisation punching above its weight and supporting play streets across the UK. Over 1000 street communities have now taken up the idea across 100 local authority areas. As a result, over 30,000 children have had the chance to ‘play out’ on their own streets and there is a growing awareness of the urgent need to restore children’s right to play where they live.