Play Australia is in the midst of its inaugural South Australian 1000 Play Streets initiative in the Campbelltown City Council area, encouraging residents to enjoy a more active lifestyle.

The Marshall Liberal Government’s 2020-21 Sport and Recreation Development and Inclusion Program (SRDIP) provided an $80,000 grant to support the project, which temporarily closes a residential street, enabling people of all ages to connect and play outside in a community space.

Everyone in the neighbourhood is invited to come along and bring bikes, scooters, sports equipment and/or crafts, and get creative with how they choose to play on the day.

Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Corey Wingard said 1000 Play Streets is a prime example of how South Australians can incorporate more physical activity into their everyday lives.

“We’ve seen our increasingly busy lives significantly impact on how much leisure time we all have and what we choose to do with it,” Minister Wingard said.

“In our Game On strategy to get South Australians moving, we identified that we need to use innovative thinking, strategic partnerships and invest in projects like 1000 Play Streets to deliver more diverse opportunities for movement and play.”

Campbelltown City Council Mayor Jill Whittaker said Campbelltown was proud to be the first Council in the state to host 1000 Play Streets, holding the first in a series of these events last month.

“When I talk to children in my community about Campbelltown being a children friendly city, they tell me they love playing outdoors with their friends and family, and they love it even more when it’s free choice play,” Mayor Whittaker said.

“That’s why I’m a great supporter of 1000 Play Streets where Council and the community work together to temporarily close a local road to through traffic.

“This creates a safe environment for children’s free play and for neighbours to meet each other, which I think has become even more important in the year of COVID.”

Play Australia Executive Director Barb Champion said it’s significant to be able to coordinate Play Streets in culturally diverse areas, such as Campbelltown City Council, which has a high number of Chinese and Indian residents.

“We recognise that our multicultural communities often experience greater barriers to getting involved in community-based initiatives,” Ms Champion said.

“It’s important we build equitable approaches so they can easily participate and lead their own regular Play Streets.

“In our experience, we’ve found that if neighbourhoods have places and spaces where they can come together and be active, it improves the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.”

Campbelltown City Council CEO Paul Di Iulio was thrilled at how well their initial 1000 Play Streets events had been received by all involved, and said the Council is committed to working with the community to continue to deliver this great initiative.

“As a member of the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing’s (ORSR’s) Game On Expert Panel, I know how important unstructured physical activity like outdoor play, walking and cycling is for a healthy, liveable community,” Mr Di Iulio said.

“I encourage other Councils to come on board and support Play Australia’s mission of 1000 Play Streets by 2025.”

The final Campbelltown City Council 1000 Play Streets event for the year will be held next week.