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Stay at home restrictions are finally lifted! Whether you cannot get out enough or you feel the need to sit it out longer at home. I do hope you like this read. Do encourage your friends and family to sign up and enjoy these stories too!

Many thanks again to our fantastic contributors to this edition.

Best wishes, Ceri Longville, Creative DirectorThe WRITE UP YOUR STREET team

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The importance of play in lockdown 

“I sometimes compare play to oxygen – it is all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing”

This quote, from Dr Stuart Brown the founder of the National Institute of Play in America, I believe highlights the need for play.

My name is Ben; I am a Team Leader at Play Gloucestershire, a registered charity that delivers active and creative outdoor play in urban and rural communities, whatever the weather, all year round. Activities are both school and community based.

Play is our thing! We have witnessed first-hand the power of play, to educate, to motivate, the power to transform lives. 

Maria Montessori said “Play is the work of the child”, and like adults all over the country; children are being asked to work from home. 

Play is how children learn to make their own decisions, control their emotions and impulses. It’s how they learn to negotiate, see things from others points of view and make friends. 

Play takes place in a realm where the player has little or no concept of time, it allows an escape from the seriousness of the world. Play is freedom, freedom to express yourself, to try new things, to play out the world around you – we have witnessed games of Corona Tag take place in playgrounds, this is a child at work, making sense of the world that they now inhabit. 

As our lives have gone 2D, with social interactions taking place via a flat screen, reconnecting with nature is so important. The great outdoors can offer therapeutic benefits to those that are struggling with the ups and downs of lockdown life. Even if you don’t have access to large open spaces playing outdoors is good for you, wherever you can do it. 

Head outside for a silly walk together, let your inhibitions go. Can you Moonwalk? Can you walk like a gorilla beating your chest as you go?
What about splashing in puddles, show the kids you are still young at heart! Lockdown restrictions mean it is harder to access wet weather gear if you can’t get to the shops, and let’s not forget the children are still growing during this period, they may not fit in what they have anyway. During wet play sessions we have wrapped trainers in plastic bags, and cut holes in bin liners to make ponchos. It’s not high fashion, but it is cheap and practical. 

As you venture out why not offer to collect any natural item that catch the eye of those young people in your care. It could be a feather, a colourful leaf or a smooth stone. If you collect these items in a shallow tray (think a take-away dish or food packaging) when you get home add a loop of string/wool hanging out one side, then fill the tray with some water. If it’s cold enough leaving this collection outside overnight should freeze and create an ice sculpture ready to hang from your nearest tree or windowsill – you can do this at any time of the year if you have access to a freezer.

If you are struggling to get outside, there are plenty of outdoor play activities that can be adapted. A balloon covered by a plastic bag becomes ever so slightly heavier so can act as a good volleyball or a football for keepy ups. If you have a couple of spare frying pans or books, then you could have a game of tennis. Please be aware of your surroundings though, I don’t want to get the blame for anything getting broken. 

We LOVE to play Blindfold Portraits, a game to play as a family or just in pairs. You need something to cover your eyes; a bobble hat or a hoody worn backwards to cover your eyes that way. You will need some paper and something to draw with). Sit opposite your partner then cover your eyes and draw the person in front of you without peeking. The results are often hilarious! 

Play is about the process not the product/final outcome, so GET OUT AND PLAY however you can and have fun.

Ben Morris, Gloucester

Instagram: playgloucestershire
Twitter: @Play_Glos


Artlift is a specialist creative health charity providing arts on prescription with proven health benefits for people registered with a GP in Gloucestershire or Wiltshire. 

These creative groups are free for participants. Materials are provided and / or our artists encourage re-use of materials found around the house or garden. (Artlift website)

Sally Hayward has recently been on a course on zoom and shares about it in the following acrostic along with some pieces of her own work she kindly agreed to share,

Artlift Project

Artlift has
Really helped me

Taken our was 
          Jim Brook
Little by little I
Friends I have        
  made new ones
They took

Photographs and     
   I did my poetry
Relating to
Other things;

     listening not

Each other; now
Completed and
    now go onto
The Move On


By Sally Hayward, Dursley

How can mindfulness and compassion help driving instruction?

What is Mindfulness? 

The origins of Mindfulness teachings lie in Buddhist traditions, although Mindfulness itself is not  about religion. It does, however, have everything to do with becoming aware of how we think and  feel and cultivating harmony within ourselves and the world around us.   

We use Mindfulness by paying attention with awareness in a particular way, on purpose, in the  present moment and non-judgmentally. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)Self Compassion and Compassion  techniques can then help us to accept the things we cannot change; the courage to change the things  we can; and the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer). 

The Amygdala (lizard brain), the oldest part of the brain, is responsible for our fight, flight or freeze response. It is designed to react to danger (imagined or real). This response raises our heart rate,  blood pressure, and puts us on high alert ready for action.  

Trouble is, we no longer live where we needed cortisol and  adrenaline to help us escape from sabre toothed tigers etc.  

Unfortunately, we are still having the same fight, flight, freeze response when we are triggered by  stress in our busy, hectic lives and we often see this happening on our roads. 

This fear response may can be recognised by many of us when teaching people to drive. There are  pupils who literally grip on to the wheel so hard, they seem oblivious to anything else around them  (freeze) and when they can’t fight or flee the situation (because they are behind the wheel of a car,  underneath a seat belt and closed door), they sometimes do something else…completely zone out or  melt down.   

The fear response is totally normal, albeit not particularly helpful, when what we are facing is  traffic rather than being eaten by a sabre toothed tiger. 

How Mindfulness can help in Driver Training. 

We are not required to be Mindfulness Teachers as well as Driving Instructors, but if we choose to  live and teach Mindfully, we can Integrate Mindfulness and Compassion into our Profession.  

This will have the ripple effect with our pupils becoming better, safer and calmer drivers with better ability to respond rather than simply react when faced with conflict or challenges. Ultimately we want to make our roads safer which is inherently affected by the mental attitude of drivers.

Mindfulness and Compassion is an antidote to stress and anxiety. 

I have been a ADI for 17 years and am a Grade A Instructor working in Gloucestershire. After  living with anxiety, and intense back and shoulder pain, I have benefited greatly from the  transformation effects of Mindfulness and Compassion Practices in my own life which have been  profound. 

Mindfulness can help with anxiety both during lessons and test day nerves, supporting the ability to  remain focused, as well as maintaining concentration and emotional intelligence.

For full article with video, please click here

Sandra Harper, Cotswold Mindfulness

The 12 Year old inventor

Dylan Sandey (12), Cheltenham, was one of 13 chosen as the grand prize winner for ideas4ears 2021

The global-wide contest challenged children aged between 6-12 years to invent something to improve the quality of life for people living with hearing loss. Competition entries came in the form of video presentations, detailed drawings, colourful paintings and even real-life prototypes, all aiming to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.

Dylan, who is deaf in both ears himself has a cochlear implant himself, came up with the idea of a smart watch which can connect to an hearing device via bluetooth and has buttons that can do really cool things such as set a vibrating alarm clock.
You can see and hear Dylan's pitch here.

Finding Your Purpose

At the beginning of March Sophie Price wrote a great blog post for us about her journey from a dark place to believing in herself, with the help of Young Gloucestershire and the Prince's Trust. Ceri caught up with her again recently and asked if she'd kindly share an update with us.

Back in October 2019 I took part in a 12 week life changing programme called Prince’s Trust, where I met a bunch of other young people who wanted to make a difference to their lives. I became a whole new person because I put myself out there. I gained a lot of confidence and was able to see my self worth through the help of the team and team leaders. 

Sophie PriceWith this pandemic, I think everyone is personally struggling one way or another. The trickiest part is not being able to see family as I live on my own, and missing them more than ever is the worst feeling. But I’d rather we all be safe and have to wait a little while, than lose them to a sickening virus. In myself I have been on a bit of a roller-coaster, but I’ve been riding through it, taking each day as it comes and trying to make the most out of every day and every chance I get to see a friend or family member. I’ve tried to keep positive by remembering that this isn’t our forever, it’s just for now. I’m looking forward to being able to give people hug. Little did we know that we’d taken all the small things for granted! Never again after this, but it shouldn’t of taken a pandemic for us all to realise that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. 

My biggest dream still is to be an actress, I’m just awaiting jaw surgery at the moment. I was 3 days away from having it back last year but Covid struck and it was a massive risk to go ahead, so it’s a bit of a waiting game. Once my surgery is done and I’ve recovered well, I will be auditioning for as many things that take my fancy. Hopefully soon! But in the meantime I’ve been writing my own scripts for projects I’d like to work on in the future, and I’ve been looking at making a documentary, not entirely 100% sure on what yet but something interesting.

Other than that, I’ve been doing some reading I’ve gotten through so many books! I’ve been journaling, and doing an online course based on safeguarding which I’m enjoying. 

For the future, I’d absolutely love to be an actress as I’ve said, or a producer. I’ve got some many ideas and I’m constantly writing them all down. But, my other main passion is helping other people in any way I possibly can, whether it being mentally or physically. So definitely to continue to help others get to where they want to be whilst focusing on my own dreams. quote  Whatever you do, make sure it’s the right choice for you, you can only make yourself happy. 

Finding your purpose in life is quite hard when you don’t know where to start because I didn’t have a single clue. I had no idea that it would be the Prince’s Trust. Everyone is completely different, it’s finding your passion whatever that may be, but always go with your gut. Something told me to do the course, and I’m so grateful as it turned my life around, you get to spend a week away doing fun activities where you get to find out what your skills are, ones you may not know you have. If you get the opportunity to do the course, please take it as it may change everything like it did for me. Whatever you do, make sure it’s the right choice for you, only you can make yourself happy. 

Sophie Price,  Gloucestershire 
Twitter @ItsSophiePrice 

Your Links that we Love!

And Finally!... Pet of the month
Peppa making sure she was included in Daniel's Zoom meeting
Happy Easter
Please spread the cheer forward to friends 

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