“Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the industrial age — our dominant way of knowing, doing & creating value.”


At a fundamental level, PLAY has been central to so much of the work of Impact Hub Birmingham. #RadicalChildcare Lead, Creative Director and artist extraordinaire Amy Martin has been exploring this in a range of ways. From her early growing of the
#RadicalChildcare community, PLAY experiments across the city, and through the deeper work of the movement, THE RIGHT TO PLAY. From play streets in Bearwood, to imagining the role of children as active citizens and not merely citizens in waiting through events like Playfest, Knights on Bikes and The City We Want to Build. PLAY matters to us deeply, but not just for the youngest amongst but as a deep ethic for the 21st Century. It is not new, and we are not alone, because across the country from Playful Anywhere in Leeds to institutions like Play England there is a collective recognition of its vital role in strong, resilient societies for all ages.

“Play builds community.”


So, when we saw Urban Splash’s manifesto for Port Loop at the beginning of 2018, one of the most exciting elements of the manifesto that stood out to us was the principle of Playing Out Til Tea. The idea of the outdoors making a key part of future neighbourhood to create many opportunities for everyday play for the young and old together got us very excited. It reminded us of work we have often celebrated with you by Sam Williams and Arup: Cities Alive – Designing for Urban Childhoods. This practical guides reminds of the tonnes of small and big ways we can experiment, plan for and develop playful urban environments.

“The choices we make in the built environment can help to ensure children are given respect, fair treatment, a healthy life and the best chances of tackling the challenges of tomorrow. By highlighting children’s needs, we will be helping to solve other urban challenges, leading to cities that are better for everyone.”

— JEROME FROST, Director, Global Planning and Cities Leader, Arup

Port Loop Manifesto, pg. 16


So, when we were asked to work together to plan the opening of the park, we couldn’t quite contain our excitement to bring together, our passion for play, the network of brilliant people we know locally and across the city, and help to make Play Out ‘Til Tea happen to help celebrate the first park opening on Port Loop.

Play Out ‘Til Tea
Sunday 21st July 2019
Rotton Park Street / South Park, Ladywood

So, what can you expect if you come along? Here, is just a little taster:

For those in the area, a short walk through the local park or down the canal will lead you to Rotton Park Street. You can arrive by foot or water taxi along the canal and local neighbourhood, via some led cycle rides from North and South Birmingham (more details coming soon), or by bus or into town by train. For those who need it there will be a drop off area and directions to the local parking. If you need any support with attending just get in touch, we will help find a way. You will be able to leave you bike in the bike valet, and also book in a free basic bike check with Ezo Cycle, whilst you enjoy the day.

Rotton Park Street will be closed for a giant play street, with local and city wide artists and activities from a wheels zone and course for your bikes, scooters and blades, to longboarding with GirlDreamer, double dutch and skipping workshops, a giant playbox, windmill making with Playful Anywhere, floor art, free play and much more. In the park you will find bubble displays and hula hooping with SpinSonic Circus, a craft tipi, a DIY Drive-in Cinema with Flatpack, outdoor library by How Brave Is The Wren, a story zone, picnic areas, face painting, an open mic stage and lots more.

You might want to take a family friendly tour of the canal loop and learn a bit more about the area, or just lie in the sun and soak up the day with some gentle music / open mic in the background. There will be lots to do, and something for everyone. Whether you would like to bring a picnic, or enjoy the local food trucks we have on offer including Smoking Bagels, The Bakers Pantry, Goody Gujarati and Urban Cheesecake.

We are working with a brilliant network of artists, creatives and organisation from across the local area and city working with us to bring the day to life, including Spinsonic Circus, Eat Make Play, Cycle South Brum, Active Wellbeing Society, Boatel and more. We’ll have a full line-up including lots more detail and specific timings to be announced, so keep watching the space. In the mean time, save the date and let us know you’re coming.

Port Loop are leading on marketing, branding sign up so head over to them for more details. Of course if you want to talk to us about play and programming, just drop a line to birmingham@impacthub.net as we’d love to hear from you.

“The concept of everyday freedoms combines the ability to play and socialise with high levels of independent mobility. It is through play that children learn to make sense of the world. Play is an instinctive, voluntary and spontaneous human learning impulse, and a basic human right.”