Using the principles of the national Playing Out organisation, Play Your Way aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families, reduce social isolation for residents who live alone and empower residents to create a more cohesive neighbourhood.
People across North Somerset have already started enjoying the benefits of Play Your Way including residents of Moorland Road in Weston-super-Mare who hosted a session.
Emma Gliddon, who organised Play Your Way in Moorland Road, said: “The Play Your Way sessions in Moorland Road were lots of fun for the children but also forged some intergenerational links which we’re still benefiting from today.
“Older residents got to meet the young families, have a chat and learn each other’s names which has led to greater harmony, and a lot more ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ happening in our street.
“We’re a more resilient community and better connected to each other than before the events. I met neighbours that I had never seen although I’ve lived here 10 years and now I know lots more about the people I live near.”
Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council and executive member for health, added: “Play Your Way is a fantastic opportunity for neighbourhoods to come together. As well as helping people get more active in a traffic free space and all the benefits exercise brings, this type of community reconnection also helps mental health and wellbeing by empowering neighbours to come together and reducing social isolation.
“It’s wonderful to hear about the lasting, positive effects the sessions have had. If you’re interested in making this happen for your street, please get in touch with us. Our Physical Activity team will help and guide you through the process of applying for a road closure at no cost, and provide approved signage for the event.”
Play Your Way sessions can be for up to two hours, once a week during out of school and daylight hours. Cul-de-sacs and no through streets as well as residential streets serving cul-de-sacs and hamlets are suitable for the sessions.
During the session streets are closed to through traffic. However, vehicle access for residents is maintained. The closure must be supervised by designated stewards and resident vehicles that leave or enter the street are escorted by a steward. Streets that are on a bus route or which have scheduled or emergency works taking place are not suitable for the scheme.
If you would like to host a Play Your Way session on your street contact North Somerset Council’s Physical Activity team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01275 882 730. You can also find more information at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/playyourway.