‘Playing out’ reaches Brighton

Playing out - Compton Road and Inwood CrescentToday, Playing Out reaches Brighton for the first time.

Playing Out is a small, grassroots community movement started in Bristol, aimed at activating street play in your neighbourhoood.

The theory is that modern-day kids don’t do what a lot of us used to when we were younger – that is play outside after school. The reasons for this are varied and include busier roads, more protective parents, more ‘enticing’ entertainment indoors.

Two mums in Bristol organised the first Playing Out session back in 2009 and it’s slowly branching out across the country.

Now for Brighton

Today (Friday 14th December), the first Playing Out session hits Brighton – in Compton Road and Inwood Crescent.

It’s taken about 2 months from the first ‘street’ meeting to today’s event.
– We’ve collected signatures (at least 2/3 of your chosen road/s has to agree)
– Submitted the road closure request to Brighton & Hove Council (who initially disagreed, but then saw sense)
– Made signs (see above right)
– Put flyers on cars
– Organised a stewarding rota

Now we’re ready to don high-vis jackets and brave the winter weather to supervise and marshal.

Typically, the Great British weather is looking like it will make the first one a little soggy, but we’re confident that this will become a regular event throughout the year.


– If you want to find out more, visit the Playing Out website

The Lost Toys

One of the things you quickly learn as a Dad is the importance of various toys in your children’s lives. Losing one, or indeed any part of it, can be as big as trauma as most children have experienced.

Think how you’d feel if your favourite watch, your wallet or a childhood memento went missing. or was stolen and you get the point.

Earlier this week, we journeyed to Brighton for a couple of days. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called The White House and blagged some free passes to the Sealife Centre.

A couple of hours beforehand, Ceri had bought a new toy for Schmoo, a cute black cat, which she was instantly taken with.

We headed for the Aquarium and were about halfway round, when I realised that the cat had vanished. I hurriedly retraced steps through the Centre but to no avail. No-one had handed it in at reception and the coffee stand man could only point us in the direction of a tiny, unlikely-looking feeding point.

A similar blank was drawn there, until a kid piped up: “Oh, was it a black toy? I saw it on a table over here.”
He led us to said table, at which four foreign students were sitting. “It was this table,” confirmed the kid, and his mum confirmed this from her own vantage point.

There was nothing there, though. “I’m sure it was here,” said the boy. Suddenly, one of the students reached into his zipped-up rucksack, sitting on the floor, and pulled out the toy.

We were to glad to see it, that our dismay at someone trying to pocket what was clearly a child’s toy was tempered slightly. The cheek of it – it’s a kid’s toy, not a student’s plaything. What was he going to do? Perform experiments on it.

Clearly, we were glad to get the cat back, but irritated beyond belief by the actions of an unthinking youth.

Oh, and we gave the other kid a couple of quid, as a reward/thank you. He looked well chuffed!