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Roads set to close to allow children to play outside

The Playing Out scheme will become policy in Edinburgh following a trial last year.

Street: Playtime in Pentland View, Edinburgh.
Street: Playtime in Pentland View, Edinburgh.

Roads across Edinburgh will close to allow children to play on the street, under a scheme run by the council.

The Playing Out project is set to become council policy and will run this summer following a pilot period last year.

Between April and August 2017, the council approved 54 Playing Out sessions across 30 streets in Edinburgh.

The council said as well as providing children with a safe space to play in, this resulted in children making new friends and and increased their sense of belonging.

Residents can request the street closures under the policy.

The Playing Out scheme began in Bristol and is now used in around 50 local authorities in England.

Glasgow city council has announced it will allow a street play weekend in June, with residents encouraged to apply.

Play: Scheme is now council policy.
Play: Scheme is now council policy.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Edinburgh's Transport and Environment Convener, said: "Our Edinburgh Playing Out pilot scheme saw hundreds of children, parents and neighbours reclaiming their streets for play, conversation and social interaction.

"Feedback from the public consultation was enormously positive and showed huge support for rolling this out as Council policy.

"By making our streets places to spend quality time with friends and neighbours, we're helping build strong community spirit, fostering connections between different generations and enabling children to flourish through free and active play."

'It's so important for children to have the freedom to play outside in an unstructured way.'
Councillor Eleanor Bird

Councillor Eleanor Bird, the council's young people's champion, said: "It's so important for children to have the freedom to play outside in an unstructured way.

"The responses to our consultation showed how hugely beneficial closing off streets for play and recreation is, not just for the children themselves but for their parents and neighbours too.

"It will be fantastic to see more and more communities holding Playing Out sessions in their streets, especially in this Year of Young People."

Edinburgh Playing Out run a Facebook page where the street closures will be organised.

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