The past week has seen hopscotch grids popping up all around Hull, from city centre to community centres. Police officers, firefighters, local celebs and sporting mascots have all been caught on camera enjoying the classic playground game. People across the city – adults and kids – are being urged to get hopping and rediscover the joys of playing out together.
Dozens of games have been chalked onto city surfaces as part of a plan to promote the Playing Out project. Playing Out, which launched last year, allows communities to temporarily shut streets to through-traffic, giving children the opportunity to play safely on the roads of their own neighbourhoods. After a successful first year, Playing Out plans are ramping up again in anticipation of lighter nights and warmer days.
Julia Weldon, director of Public Health at Hull City Council, said: “Hopscotch really captures the spirit of Playing Out. We’ve chalked games all around Hull, from the middle of the city to the centre of communities, and so far they’ve proved irresistible to children and adults alike.
“Playing Out got off to a fantastic start last year, communities organised 24 sessions totalling more than 50 hours of outdoor play. It’s a fantastic way to get children active, outside, meeting their neighbours and for fostering a real sense of community.
“We’re hoping for even more sessions in 2019 – last year’s pioneering organisers have already organised some. In the meantime, have a go at one of our hopscotch games and remind yourself how much fun simple, traditional play can be”.
Matt Wright, Hull Engagement Officer for the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Playing Out has proved a great scheme for bringing neighbours together and talking. Through the initiative the police and fire teams have also been able to forge stronger local relationships with communities on their patch and together with residents make streets more resilient and safer.
“I hope the act of hopscotching reminds residents old and young of the simple pleasure of play – it certainly brought back some positive memories for Keith Hunter who was pleased to support the campaign – and encourages more streets to apply to Play Out in 2019”.
Anyone can apply to host a Playing Out session on their street. An easy application process makes it simple to request a road is temporarily closed to traffic and consult with neighbours, and all who sign up receive a kit including signage, high-vis vests, chalks and skipping ropes.
For a taster of Playing Out, head to the Streetlife Museum throughout February half term, where there will be games to try and information about taking part.
You can also visit: http://www.hull.gov.uk/communities-and-living/neighbourhood-teams/playing-out-hull or contact programme manager Emma Kelly on: 01482 616 380 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org.