Come out to play
Across the Onkaparinga region, neighbours are enjoying each other’s company and playing for a few hours while their street is closed to traffic.
The 1000 Play Streets program, created by Play Australia, is reclaiming quiet residential streets as places for people to step out their front door to reconnect and have fun with their neighbours—or meet them for the first time.
The project is funded under the state government’s Statewide Wellbeing Strategy, led by Wellbeing SA. The City of Onkaparinga recently received a $70,000 Open Your World community wellbeing grant from the state government to bring the 1000 Play Streets program to the region in 2021.
“It’s important that Onkaparinga communities are active and healthy,” says council’s Play Streets Community Activation Officer Leeza Peters.
“Quality connections between neighbours instils a sense of belonging, increases confidence and improves health for all generations. COVID-19 had a large impact on isolation and decline in physical activity, especially in young people, so this project encourages people to reconnect with neighbours while playing and having fun,” Leeza says.
Coromandel Valley resident Gemma Wilkinson expressed her interest last year in hosting a series of Play Streets events to build community connection. Gemma and her husband and their young daughters moved into their street in June 2019 seeking a “tree change” from their home in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs.
The residents of their street held their first Play Streets event on 27 February this year, complete with games, a sausage sizzle, iceblock treats, and keepsakes for the children to encourage them to stay active.
“I grew up playing on the street with my friends,” Gemma says. “We had a park across the road from our previous house and my girls often met their friends there.
“We hadn’t been able to meet all of our new neighbours due to COVID and staying indoors more last year, so street play events are a great opportunity for us to connect.”
Council developed a guide to support Play Streets hosts in planning their sessions. The guide includes tips about how to communicate the event with the street, borrow sporting equipment to use on the day, and recruit neighbours to volunteer. Council takes care of the necessary permits and insurances, coordinates road closures, and helps ensure the sessions meet COVID-safe practices.
Stay tuned to hear more about Play Streets in Seaford Rise, Chandlers Hill and Christie Downs.
For further information about local Play Streets events phone council’s Community Development team on 8384 0666.
Latiesha and Ellira enjoying the Hackham West 1000 Playstreets event; Neighbours at Hackham West also spent a sunny day playing in their local street; Coromandel Valley residents Nicola, Alison, Chloe and Gemma attended their first Play Streets event in February this year.