Adventure playground staff set to lose jobs
1:54pm Thursday 21st June 2012 in News
Councillors have rubber-stamped plans to get rid of play staff at all of Wandsworth’s adventure playgrounds and put their supervision out to tender.
There was strong opposition to last night's decision with a demonstration outside the town hall prior to the key meeting by Wandsworth Against Cuts (WAC), school children from Sacred Heart Primary School and parents.
But the education and children's services overview and scrutiny committee agreed to press ahead with the replacement of the more risky equipment at Battersea adventure playground, and tendering out the provision of play staff.
The move means the council could make a saving of £147,000 a year, with the fates of Kimberly Road and York Gardens to be decided at a later meeting.
A spokesperson from London Play told the committee it could help residents run their own playgrounds by setting up play associations but this was rejected as it could mean charging at the weekends and it was allegedly unsuccessful in Lambeth.
Charity Kids Company also stepped forward to help but was rejected.
Councillor Kathy Tracey, whose children used to work as play staff at the playground, said: "We are going to put that provision out to tender.The time has come now to build the playground of the future."
During the meeting deputations were heard from WAC, Carmen van-de-l'isle, 14 and mother of three Elizabeth Oddono.
Carmen said: "As you continue to tear down more and more playgrounds and social hubs we're losing places that we as teenagers can call our own."
After the decision was made she said: "We are the next generation. Who knows, we might kill off the old people who weren't very nice to us and stop benefits when they are older."
The council also heard a 14 year old rapper speak, known only as Loouis or DC Scribbla, who said play staff helped him launch his music career and made him feel a part of the community.
He said: "They have been instrumental in helping me as an artist and a community member. It was important my community was supporting me in everything I do."
Megaman from So Solid Crew turned up before the meeting to show his support for the protesters.