Children will be taking over an Oxford street today as a scheme to help them reclaim roads launches in the city.

A recent Play England survey discovered nearly half of parents thought it was too unsafe to let their children play out alone.

The Playing Out programme helps residents organise temporary residential road closures for children to play outside after school.

Organisers say it gives children the freedom they crave while ensuring they are safe.

The project was started last year by Bristol neighbours Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose.

Mum-of-two Ms Ferguson said: “There is so much evidence now indicating that children need the chance to play freely and energetically every day. Yet most of our children are just not getting that chance and are spending too much time indoors looking at screens or being ferried around in cars.

“Parents are present to keep an eye on things but the essence of Playing Out is to allow children to use the street to play however they like.”

The project has helped 13 Bristol streets to organise traffic-free play sessions since it started last year.

Residents work together to plan a day and then apply for their street to be closed from 3pm to 6pm on that day.

Through traffic is diverted, but residents can drive their cars down the street guided by stewards at either end.

Ms Ferguson said: “We are starting our partnership with Oxford residents this autumn and would love to hear from anyone in the city interested in having an initial session in their street.”

The scheme led to Bristol City Council launching a ‘temporary play street order’ to allow streets to open for play once a week.

The first Playing Out session in Oxford will be held on Campbell Road in Cowley today. Other members of the public are asked not to attend, as the event is for street residents only.

Workshops will be held around the city for other interested residents this autumn.

For more information and to organise your own session, visit