Our local library is incredible – but it needs your help to stay that way

York Gardens Library

York Gardens Library

Something special is happening at York Gardens Library. Each Saturday from 10am more than a dozen teenagers from the local estates receive free one-on-one tuition to help with their GCSE Maths and English.

This support is provided by volunteers – and it makes a real difference. “The free tutoring came at just the right time and helped me pass the subjects I was struggling in,” says local teenager Una. Her mother was delighted that Una could go on to a good college after tutoring improved her Maths grade to a C.

This fantastic scheme is just what we hoped for when a community campaign saved York Gardens Library from closure last year.

Last week there was more good news: Lloyds Banking Group’s Community Fund awarded £5,000 to the Library, following a public vote.

Unfortunately, just a few yards away from the library the scene is grim. What was the local Adventure Playground is now a muddy pile of wooden poles.

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Free chicken, facepaint and £1,000,000: Hundreds of local people come to awesome Winstanley consultation

This post features material by Syeda Islam, Helen Garforth and Sandra Munoz

Residents young and old came to York Gardens Library on Thursday, June 14 to share their thoughts on how best to make a positive difference to their neighbourhood. More than 400 people contributed to this energetic and well-organised community consultation on how to spend a Big Lottery Fund grant of £1,000,000 over the next 10 years.

Local children take part in the consultation

Local children take part in the consultation

The guests, in bright sunshine, were greeted by the Falconbrook School Steel band and the Sacred Heart Choir, in the lovely gardens in front of the library.

The place was buzzing with various stalls and activities brought by local organisations – in the Library and also at Providence House, the Adventure Playground, and Pennethorne Square. A smoothie bike was available for all to “exercise” their way to a healthy drink.

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‘Council to close all adventure playgrounds’: Shock Wandsworth Guardian report

The Wandsworth Guardian’s front page story states: “All three of the borough’s adventure playgrounds and two children’s clubs could face the axe as Wandsworth Council struggles to slash £30m from next year’s budget.

“Playgrounds in Battersea Park, York Gardens and Kimber Road Gardens are all under threat.”

Foul Play: Wandsworth Guardian Article

It is amazing that the council has not learned from the extraordinary public response to Wandsworth council’s plans to charge children £2.50 to play in Battersea Park Adventure Playground (see the national coverage round-up on WeSayNoPay2Play, which I also edit).

In response to the reports, Women of Wandsworth, a group of local volunteer moms, have updated a video of their inspiring campaign to keep our playgrounds free which forced the council into its original U-turn – well worth watching.