Beat the Street Sheffield organisers hold Play Streets trial over the bank holiday weekend

Children and families will get the chance to take over their street in Broomhall this Bank Holiday for three days of fun outside their homes.

Organisers of the recent Beat the Street Sheffield game are continuing to support play and children’s activity with a “Play Streets” trial event over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The Beat the Street game shares the ethos of the Play Streets campaign, and aims to encourage people to get outdoors together and to continue to incorporate the healthy lifestyle habits developed during the game.

Holberry Gardens and Havelock Street will temporarily close between 12pm and 4pm on Sunday August 29th, Monday August 30th and Tuesday August 31st to give children chance to play games outdoors safely.

‘Play Streets’ is part of a national resident-led Playing Out initiative started in Bristol in 2009 to help neighbourhoods who are frustrated that their children have nowhere to play safely outside their houses. Local authorities are asked to close their streets so they can play in a safe environment, boosting health, happiness and their sense of belonging in the community.

Additionally, during the COVID pandemic, children have been disproportionately affected by lockdown and according to Sport England’s Children’s experience of physical activity in lockdown insight report (July 2020), just 19% of children under 16 were reaching 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. This is down from 46.8% pre-COVID daily levels.

The Play Street in Broomhall was the idea of local resident Polly Blacker who looks after the green community spaces on Holberry Gardens and Havelock Street through organisation HERB.

Polly, whose long-term aim is to either make her road a permanent Play Street or a 5MPH zone said: “I had the idea for a Play Street last summer. Children sometimes use this space to play cricket, to run around, scoot and have barbecues there too, but I noticed how children wanted to play out but cars were driving too quickly on Holberry Gardens and using it as a parking spot. Most cars on Holberry Gardens are from outside the area as most residents don’t have a car. Allotment users mostly walk or cycle. Residents I have spoken to are overwhelmingly in favour of hosting a Play Street.”

Local residents will be to drive to and from their houses during the road closures as long as they drive at 5MPH. Parents will be responsible for their own children’s safety and behaviour during the Play Street.

Alasdair Menmuir, engagement coordinator for Beat the Street Sheffield, said: “Building on the recent success of the Beat the Street game, we are keen to encourage children to play out safely with other children.

The recent Beat the Street Sheffield game saw 62,000 people across the city take part in a six-week game where they walked, cycled and rolled a total of 452,964 miles.

 

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