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Street play makes a comeback in Hackney

16 December 2014
Young girl draws pictures on the road with a bucket of coloured chalk as part of the organised Street Play event

The sight of children playing traditional games in the street is making a comeback - in one of Sanctuary Housing’s residential estates.

Father of four Richard Ntaka, who lives in the Old Kingshold Estate, successfully applied to turn Templecombe Road into a monthly Play Street – one of 30 Hackney streets taking part in the idea.

Residents are supported by Hackney Play Association as part of its Street Play Project with funding from Hackney and Sanctuary Housing. Two play sessions have already taken place with dozens of children enjoying chalk games, skipping, football and riding bikes.

Richard explained: “I heard about the idea by chance when I picked up a flyer – and I immediately thought this would be great for our estate. I consulted by holding a residents meeting and was surprised at the nice response!

“What’s also nice is that parents are starting to use it as an opportunity to come out and chat to their neighbours. I hope that lots more residents will get involved.”

Rachel Davidson, a mum of three from the estate said: “Doing this is a good idea – the children are able to run around a bit and play with other kids instead of being stuck inside.”

Street play sessions aim to bring back the culture of street play, giving children and adults the chance to come together and play safely close to their homes. Resident volunteers redirect traffic or steward vehicles which need access to their homes.

Jo Revett, neighbourhood partnership manager for Sanctuary Housing, said: “We’re really pleased to support this project enabling children to play outside safely with their neighbours.

“It’s great that it has made connections between adult residents too, contributing to the sense of community on the estate.”

Hackney was the first London borough council to introduce the idea in 2012 and there are now 30 streets running sessions in Hackney with around 1600 children taking part in the last year.

Residents interested in finding out more should go to http://www.hackneyplay.org/playstreets/home/ and https://www.hackney.gov.uk/play-streets or email hackney@playingout.net

This project was funded by Sanctuary Group’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.