Camden Council axes play service at award-winning Kilburn adventure playground
PUBLISHED: 10:57 24 January 2012
After school, weekend and school holiday play programmes are the latest casualty of town hall cuts
Children will no longer be supervised by trained staff at an adventure playground in Kilburn.
Specialist play workers are set to lose their jobs as a result of Camden Council axing its current play service.
It means there will be no more after school, weekend and school holiday play programmes at Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground which only opened a year and a half ago.
Susanna Rustin, journalist and Green Party campaigner, said: “This is terrible news. I grew up in Kilburn in the 1970s when the Grange was a scruffy and slightly scary place to play, and it’s been fantastic to see how the park has changed. “Both my daughters love going there and the adventure playground is one of their favourites.
“The weekend supervised sessions are fantastic because it is important for older children to be able to go out and play without their parents.
“How short-sighted to cut this service, which will inevitably lead to local children spending less time exercising and playing outdoors when this is so good for them.”
The council has set aside £1.5million for a new play service which will start in September next year but children with disabilities and children in need will take priority.
It will also provide subsided places for low income families.
The closure of the adventure playground, which won a Royal Insitute of British Architects award last year, and five other projects in Camden will result in the loss of 11 full-time posts – two of which are from the Kilburn site.
Youngsters will still be able use the adventure playground during park opening hours but they will not be supervised.
James King, a former Lib Dem councillor for Kilburn, said: “It’s really disappointing that the new award-winning adventure playground in Kilburn Grange Park is being hit by Camden Council cuts.
“The after-school, weekend and holiday programmes are well-used and a core part of the initial vision for the playground.”
But Cllr Mike Katz, Labour councillor for Kilburn, said: “Sadly, the coalition’s cuts mean that we no longer have the money to keep the play scheme going ourselves.
“I’ve been in touch with Kingsgate Community Centre, just next door to the park, who has expressed interest in providing a play scheme from the playground. I know how much kids love playing there, so it would be great if we could continue to provide a play service from the playground.
“However, readers should rest assured that the playground itself will still be accessible for children, if only for unsupervised play like other playgrounds.”