Guest post by local resident Jane Eades
Last Saturday and Sunday many adults made emotional last visits to the Adventure Playgrounds they played or worked on.
Children at Battersea Park showed their parents how to salsa and filled out a memory wall, you can read some of their comments below. At York Gardens, young BMXers practiced their stunts on the ramp they had built only a few weeks ago with help the playleaders, who are soon to lose their jobs. ITN News reported from the playground, the video can be seen here.
All still had a hope that the Council would listen to the 4,000 signatories to the petition to save the staffed Adventure Playgrounds.
Their faith in common sense will have been destroyed as workmen moved in to York Gardens on Monday, destroying the children’s hard work.
I am very sorry to say that, despite all our attempts to get Councillors to change their minds about the Adventure Playgrounds, they have ignored the 4,000 who have signed the petition and gone ahead with their mindless plans to demolish York Gardens Adventure Playground. It is likely that work will start at Kimber Road soon – we have no information on Battersea Park.
I was there when the destruction began. It is a long time since I cried but I am not ashamed to admit that I did that morning. I have to say that the contractors really did not want to be carrying out the destruction.
So much for democracy!
Children were asked “What would you say to the people who want to close this playground down?” Here are a few of their replies…
“You have no idea how many hearts you are breaking! The reason why teenagers are killing themselves is because there aren’t much parks like this, so by closing this there will be nothing for children to do. So THANK YOU for ruining children’s FUN!” – Cassian (Age 12)
“I’ll really miss it here, and even though we travel a long way, it’s worth it, and it’s the BEST PLAYGROUND EVER (Battersea) so don’t close it PLEASE”. – Lily (age 12).
“We don’t have anywhere to go” – Amy (age 8)
“Taking away childhood memories” – Katie (age 15)
“Stop ruining children’s fun” – Sophia (age 13)
“Please do not close this playground (York Gdns) because this is like home 2 me” – Ellie (age 8)
“This is my favourite playground by far (York Gdns) and I have loved it ever since I was a kid” – Lily (age 14)
“You are ruining the happiness and memories of happy and playful children. – Nintiel (age 12)
“Do you know how upsetting this is?” – Imogen (age 8)
“Go away, you’re life ruiners” – William (age 10)
“Booo! Jerks!” – Ariana (age 11)
“Why are you mean bull dogs?” – Poppy (age 8)
“They don’t know nothing about the park” – Ria (age 11)
“You’re putting people out of work” – Dalitza (age 14)
In answer to the question “What do you like best about the staff?”, most children said kind, fun, helpful etc. Here are some good answers…
“Smile” – Michaila (age 5)
“They are here for us” – Eloise (age 9)
“They’re nice, and don’t care about money” – (child of 10)
“On the tyre swing they push you really hard” – Evaneh (age 13) & Emmett (age 11)
“They take care of us” – Claudia (age 7)
“Awesome” – Cosimo (age 12)
“They stop trouble” – Daniel (age 8)
A couple more noteworthy replies were…
“How jubilant everyone is when they come here (Battersea Park)” – Jaz (age 12)
“It feels wild and free” – Eloise (age 9)
Lastly, here are two parents muscling in on the kids questionnaires…
“We don’t have a garden, and this is a place I can play and take calculated risks” – Parent of Johnny (age 5)
“You clearly never listened to the voices of the users. You are breaking the hearts of the community” – Mother of Teeyah (age 7)
From the Battersea Park Memory Wall:
To all those people who wanted to close this down – thanks for ruining lives.
Love all the staff involved.
Please don’t go
I will miss this park a lot, especially the slides and the careworkers that have been nice to me.
Thank you for making my children so happy, we will miss you
I will miss the groovy dance competitions.