Play Streets proving popular across Lower Hutt

More communities across Lower Hutt are working together to close quiet residential streets to allow for neighbours of all ages to come out and play.

Play is vital for our health and happiness and now neighbours around Lower Hutt are bringing play closer to home and seeing the benefits.  More communities are taking action to make the streets outside their houses vibrant and fun play spaces.

Play Streets are part of an international movement where communities work together to close quiet residential streets to allow for neighbours of all ages to come out and play.

Hutt City Council is right behind the Play Streets movement. Sam Dickie from the Active in the Hutt team at Hutt City Council says they can provide the support, advice and even some equipment to make it easy and fun.

“Our communities told us that they wanted to play safely on the streets, but they found the road closure and traffic management processes hard to navigate. We’ve responded by working with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to remove the barriers for communities that want to use their streets for play. This includes trialling simplified forms and providing the health and safety resources needed to make safe Play Streets a reality across our city.”

“Play brings community together and people of all ages are getting involved.”

Feedback from recent Play Street events shows that it isn’t just the kids that are benefiting from Play Streets.  Residents are invited to fill out a short survey after their events. While the kids were most interested in testing their skills on bikes, scooters and skateboards and playing sports on the street, the adults were keen to meet and mingle with the neighbours and build community spirit.

“Some of our neighbourhoods are now planning on holding regular play street events while others may just do one or two a year. We can work with them to plan what will suit their street, their neighbours and play ambitions.”

Play is essential for our development, it fosters creativity and innovation and builds our ability to identify and manage risk, play is where tamariki practice life.

“We believe that everyone has a role in growing the amount of play that our communities enjoy.”

People interested in finding out more about holding a Play Street event can visit Active in the Hutt  or email play@huttcity.govt.nz.

Hutt City Council was nominated as a finalist by Sport NZ in their Community Impact award for the work they are doing to support play across Lower Hutt.