Wednesday, 14 September 2011
FOLSAP: Lollard Street Adventure Playground
Dear Councillor Robbins
Over the past six months the Friends of Lollard Street Adventure Playground have been pleading with you to delay the closure of our Adventure Playground to enable us to find an alternative model of management that would retain its opening hours to fit the needs of parents and children for safe after-school provision in an area of great need. You took the time to listen to parents and the young children who attended a meeting with you in May. You seemed to understand from what you heard, that this was not just about the need for free and adventurous play with excellent and varied indoor provision, important though that is. But, that this was also a safeguarding issue relating to after-school provision for parents struggling to work, often in low paid jobs with inflexible hours.
You persuaded us that it would be worthwhile our trying to produce a business plan and get properly constituted, in the spirit of the ’cooperative’ council! You assured us that your officers would provide us with the necessary information to do this so that we would be able to calculate costs and research outside partners and funders. We were working hard to do this when we learned that you had already gone out to seek tenders from a long list of organisations with whom the Council already had contracts. In the meantime, without proper notice to the parents and children, you closed Lollard Street Adventure Playground and others.
In my last letter to you (16th August), I queried the process the Council had adopted in this case. It did not seem to accord with its own code of practice. We understand now that only two organisations/businesses applied to run the Council’s seven Adventure Playgrounds at much reduced hours. In three of the playgrounds this would amount to only one session a week. The contract would be for six months starting immediately.
Now we are told that the contract cannot be awarded as, surprise surprise, the process was wrong! We are told today, that Lollard Street, and we assume at least three others, will remain closed whilst the Council sorts itself out.
I ended my last letter to you, asking whether this was the best we could do for our kids? Is it?
Hon Treasurer Friends of Lollard Street Adventure Playground.
Chair of Kennington Association.
Posted by Kennington Association at 09:59