Sunday 14 September 2014

Looking after your own

Scootering on Valentine Road
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Playing out 7th August 2014 - six streets closed, a series of events about 100 people on each street - over 1000 people taking part including more activities on the High street, all coordinated by a few volunteers who wanted to do something for their kids, their local community.

'Playing out' started in Bristol 2009, where one street was closed down and around 50 people came to play.  By the next year it was six streets.  The year after Bristol Council developed a 'Temporary Street Play Order', and now deals with over 300 requests a year for street closures for a range of residents events.

In Birmingham 'Playing out' started in 2013 with 3 streets.  This year was six, and with support from Birmingham City Council street closure fees are waived, and we are well on the way to having our own temporary street closure order for future events.

Laying the turf on Kings Heath High Street

Kings Heath has been undergoing a revolution in 'people power' over the last few years.  Kings Heath Square only opened in 2011, and is always not just packed and active, but hosts a range of activities for young and old - music, markets, dance, drama...  More recently that interest in community has spread to re-assessing and 'reclaiming' the streets.

Two weeks after 'Playing out' on 7th August,  'DIY Streets Kings Heath' closed parking lots down the High Street, and on the last sunny weekend of the summer holiday York Road, Kings Heath closed to traffic for a festival billed as 'the first festival for families'

Party Time at Kings Heath Festival
It's exciting to see the changes happening, in peoples attitudes, in planning and physically to the spaces around us.  Never before have I felt how much we can make a difference for the better to the people and places immediately around us.

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