An online campaign has attracted over 2,000 signatures in support of keeping Hemel’s adventure playgrounds properly staffed and open.
For generations of kids the four free adventure playgrounds in Chaulden, Adeyfield and Woodhall Farm and Grove Hill have been something of a second home. A place to make friends, learn life skills and take the first steps towards independence, often when things are difficult at home.
But now the playgrounds are under threat from the same Conservative councillors who recently privatised Dacorum sports and leisure services who want to reduce staff in a way that campaigners believe will “escalate safeguarding concerns and cause chaos through the summer months”.
Simone Payne, whose late mother spent 40 years helping and supporting children through play and experiences at the playgrounds, wants her own children to have the same life chances afforded to her as a child. She is worried that cost is being put before children’s wellbeing and safety and is worried that “this is the start of a slow process towards complete closure.”
Councillors will be asked to vote on plans reduce the number of senior staff to just two managers for all four sites. The age range of the park is to change from 6-13 to 8-16 meaning that younger children who have traditionally used the playgrounds unaccompanied but under the watchful eye of experienced and trusted staff will be excluded.
“I have first-hand experience of how important this service is to the children”, says Simone. “Playgrounds are a source of community for so many children. This is a base to socialise and experience things they’d never do before.”
“That’s why I want to push the petition amount as far as possible, I’m hoping to form a team/committee after lots of offers to help.”
This is not the first time the playgrounds have been under threat and Hemel Labour campaigned against potential redundancies some years ago. If you would like to know more about the campaign or join Labour then drop us a line.