Wandsworth Against Cuts call for council to retain play staff
7:40am Thursday 12th April 2012 in News
Campaign group Wandsworth Against Cuts (WAC) has launched a petition calling for the council to retain its play staff.
Members of the group are concerned about council plans to make play staff redundant who work in the borough's three adventure playgrounds.
New equipment which will not require adult supervision will be installed in the playgrounds and Kimber Gardens is being turned into a skate park.
The cash-strapped council announced earlier this year it planned to make a saving of £147,000, with at least four workers believed likely to lose their jobs.
WAC members leafleted outside Battersea Park and York Gardens in a bid to make youngsters and parents aware of the changes.
A spokesperson for WAC said: "With loss of staff onsite, the way the playgrounds operate will be changed completely, and the current friendly, supportive atmosphere fade.
"All the advice, counsel, first aid, activities and supervision provided by dedicated staff will be gone.
"Concerns are that the playgrounds will become liable to abuse, with bullying, possible drugs activity and a prevailing atmosphere that might easily drive away younger and more vulnerable children."
Councillor Kathy Tracey, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “We have undertaken extensive consultations with members of the public, including talking to the young playground users themselves, in order to come up with ways to safeguard the future of all three play areas at Battersea Park, York Gardens, and Kimber Road.
“Despite facing an estimated reduction in expenditure of £70m by 2014, the council is planning to invest half a million pounds to transform them into new open-access playgrounds - ensuring none are closed.
“Service changes are unavoidable in this tough economic climate but there is no evidence to support the view that these play areas will become unsafe as a result, especially when you consider that hundreds of playgrounds across the capital are free-to-access and unstaffed.”
Visit wandsworthagainstcuts.org.uk to sign the petition