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COMMENT: ‘I’m happy to help youngsters reclaim our streets for fun and games’

Cllr Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council Cllr Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council

Sunday, December 22, 2013
11:00 AM

The leader of Haringey Council on the runaway success of the Play Streets scheme.

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"This is not about the council running the show and telling residents how to do things – it’s about us simply removing obstacles to community activities and empowering residents to make things happen for themselves."

Cllr Claire Kober

I’m really pleased that this week we’ve been able to announce our plans to expand the popular Haringey Play Streets, giving more kids the chance to reclaim their streets for fun.

The project, which allows local communities to close certain roads to through traffic so that children can take to the streets to play, kicked off this year in Avondale and Clarendon Roads in St Ann’s.

It was launched after enthusiastic parents came to the council to ask for support in getting Play Streets up and running in their road. They wanted to do something to bring neighbours together, celebrate community spirit and give their kids the chance to take centre stage. What they needed from us was to remove the hassle and bureaucracy of road closures – and we were happy to help.

Play Streets gives young people the opportunity to skate, cycle, sprint and hopscotch just outside their own front doors and it also paves the way for parents to get to know each other better. It helps develop a stronger sense of community spirit.

Following the success of Avondale and Clarendon, the buzz started to spread and a similar scheme was launched in Pemberton Road on the Harringay Ladder, with residents once again in the driving seat.

What’s important is that this is not about the council running the show and telling residents how to do things – it’s about us simply removing obstacles to community activities and empowering residents to make things happen for themselves.

That’s why we’re eager to see the scheme expanded and it’s why we won’t be making any charge for applications to close roads for Play Streets. I’m hopeful that, come next spring and through the summer, Haringey will be home to dozens of schemes.

For me, Play Streets is the perfect example of how we can team up with our communities to deliver on the projects that matter most to them. And I’m delighted that we’ve seen similar examples of the council and the community coming together to make a difference during 2013.

The community clean-up of Parkland Walk – spearheaded by the Friends of Parkland Walk – was a real highlight for me. The Friends worked with Haringey Council and waste contractors Veolia to lead a team of more than 130 volunteers in a clear up that saw a staggering 24 tonnes of dumped rubbish removed from Parkland Walk between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace.

I was hugely impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and determination of the Friends and the volunteers and I was proud that the council was able to work side by side with them.

This is how I want to see Haringey improving further during 2014 – through harnessing and supporting the community spirit that can be found across the borough; through empowering our residents and through genuine team work that can give us all an even greater sense of local pride.

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