|Watford Labour Party||
Statement by Labour Group
We as a Labour group of councillors are completely opposed to the removal of the supervision at the Adventure Play grounds. It is a cost cutting exercise to tune of £250,000 as mentioned in paragraph 4.1.1 in the Watford Borough Cabinet papers (4th July). The Liberal Democrats are going to get Veolia to maintain the new equipment, but Veolia can't even collect our rubbish right! There is no need to do this as the cost can be easily absorbed by the council.
A supervised play service is so important for local communities, especially my one in North Watford where the Harebreaks Adventure Play ground is based as well as the Harwoods Adventure play area in West Watford.
This campaign is led by parents and children who are truly shocked at the removal of the play workers. These play areas have been running for close to 40 years and thousands of Watfordians have passed through them, learning skills such as team work, confidence, and leadership skills.
The new play areas will be left unsupervised, we already have 8 parks and 26 play areas where this happens. Harebreaks and Harewoods Adventure play areas were special because of the high quality staff who supervised them. It would be a tragic loss.
Wording of Petition
We the undersigned call on Watford Borough Council to withdraw their plans to remove play workers from the Harebreaks and Harwoods Adventure Playgrounds.
The Adventure Play Grounds have a 40-year long history of being part of the Watford community in which experienced and trained staff have built up a trust with children and their parents, where they can play independently within a safe environment.
Children have learned life skills from the play workers such as; confidence, resilience, a sense of belonging, stability, leadership skills, team work, mentoring skills amongst many others. All this will be lost if the new play areas are left unsupervised, exposing children to danger.
We call on Watford Council to maintain play workers who supervise play throughout the year as we believe it is an essential for
Nigel Bell's speech at Council
Our reason for the Call-In of this decision to demolish the 2-historical Adventure playgrounds at Harebreaks in North watford and Harwoods Rec in West Watford is the lack of consultation and the lack of alternative options put forward by the Mayor and her Cabinet.
Both the playgrounds have a unique history of unobtrusive and trusted supervision on their sites by experienced and trusted staff that has led to generations of children leading fulfilling lives.
To lose these unique playgrounds would be destroying important cultural safe areas from our Town.
Yes,proposals were made in the Budget in January for savings but we have only seen the details revealed in the papers revealed for the July 4th Cabinet meeting.
Why was there NO consultation in the months leading up to the decision?
If the Cabinet were so strong in their conviction that removing the supervised playgrounds had to go why not talk to parents,children and staff with their Union representatives to find a consensual way forward?
They cannot seriously expect us as Councillors of all parties to take seriously the 6-year old ‘play review’ document from 2010?
Why no effort to involve parents/users in looking at other Councils and how they have adapted their children play services?
There has been much talk at the Cabinet by the Mayor and in the report to the Cabinet about getting more’families involved’ in using ‘playgrounds’ as if justifying the removing of the supervision will somehow encourage more families to access them.
It is as if they think families as opposed to individuals won’t be affected by this decision when it is the opposite that will happen here.
You may create more playground facilities that will be ‘open’in quotes more often but you will lose the very element that so many parents and young people have benefited from at Harwoods and The Harebreaks.
Yes,I hear you say,”Childrens services and play are not the Borough statutory responsibility”,but when you think that the Government’s and County Council’s policy despite having less money is early intervention,wouldn’t it have been better to use the expertise of County childrens services and other authorities to see how a plan could have been put forward to keep these unique facilities open?
Early intervention and working together could save money in the long run as cutting these services could lead to vulnerable children and families being unnecessarily disadvantaged to say the least.